Image via Pixabay.
Image via Pixabay.

A Diamond Bar man who illegally imported the active ingredients used in erectile dysfunction drugs such as Viagra and Cialis and repackaged the drugs for sale as herbal sexual enhancement products pleaded guilty Wednesday to a federal charge.

Joseph “Tzong Hwan” Jinn, 60, pleaded guilty in downtown Los Angeles to one count of conspiring to bring the drugs into the United States by means of false statements, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He faces up to five years in federal prison at sentencing June 19.

In his plea agreement, Jinn admitted being part of a scheme that imported Tadalafil, Sildenafil and Dapoxetine — the active ingredients in pharmaceutical medications such as Viagra and Cialis — with false claims to customs officials that the multi-pound shipments were “cooked powder and tools,” “Chinese bread baking mixture,” and other innocuous materials.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials intercepted some of the shipments, which had a cumulative value of nearly $550,000.

Jinn admitted in court that he and his co-conspirators repackaged and sold the drugs as an “herbal supplement sexual enhancer.” The products were sold without the necessary prescriptions required by regulations enforced by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which had previously warned Jinn’s company that it was engaged in illegal sales.

“These products were falsely and dangerously marketed as herbal supplements, when in truth they were unregulated prescription medications that are harmful to some people,” Acting U.S. Attorney Sandra R. Brown said. “The scheme began with a smuggling operation, and the conduct continued with the distribution of supplements falsely labeled as natural and safe.”

The products marketed by Jinn and his co-conspirators were sold in storefronts and over the Internet.

As part of his plea agreement, Jinn agreed to forfeit to the United States approximately $105,000 that was seized from three bank accounts during the investigation.

–City News Service

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