Fullerton Man Accused of Illegally Smuggling, Marketing Erectile Dysfunction Drugs in Federal Case
Federal agents arrested a Fullerton man Wednesday after a grand jury indicted him for allegedly smuggling erectile dysfunction drugs – such as the active ingredients in Viagra and Cialis — into the U.S., as well as marketing and selling them nationwide as herbal male enhancement supplements, authorities said.
Nam Hyun Yee, also known as Daniel Lee, 60, was taken into custody without a struggle, U.S. Department of Justice spokesman Thom Mrozek said in a written statement. He was described as a South Korean national believed to be living in the U.S. illegally.
The raid came after a federal grand jury returned a 12-count indictment against Lee alleging conspiracy, three counts of smuggling misbranded drugs into the U.S. and eight counts of introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce, according to Mrozek.
Lee set up a series of companies in Buena Park and Cypress in 2016 and 2017, prosecutors said. Neither Lee nor his companies had licenses to distribute wholesale or prescription drugs.
“Lee arranged large shipments of Tadalafil and Sildenafil to be smuggled into the United States under manifests that falsely declared the drugs were products such as acrylic paint and glass bottles,” Mrozek said.
Tadalafil and Sildenafil are the active ingredients in Cialis and Viagra, officials said. Both are controlled substances that only doctors can prescribe due to potentially dangerous side-effects.
Lee obtained the drugs in powdered form, then created individual-dose capsules and sold them to distributors across the country, prosecutors said.
The labeling on the products did not disclose the presence of the drugs and claimed that the product required no prescription, authorities added.
Lee’s concoction was sold at many retail outlets, including some in Orange County, under names such as “Rhino,” “Orgazen,” “Black Panther,” “libigrow,” “Black Stallion” and “Black Mamba,” Mrozek said. The sales continued into this year.
If convicted as charged, Lee faces up to 89 years in federal prison.
A database of fraudulent products identified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration can be viewed online. Hidden pharmaceutical drugs have been found in so-called supplements marketed to treat everything from weight loss to pain, officials said.