March 28, 2017: Former Atlantic County, New Jersey, Man Charged with Smuggling and Dispensing Misbranded Drugs
CAMDEN, N.J. – A former Atlantic County, New Jersey, man charged in connection with a scheme to smuggle misbranded drugs into the country and dispense drugs without a valid prescription will make his initial court appearance today, Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick announced.
Merwin Marc Snyder, 64, formerly of Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, is charged by indictment with one count of conspiracy, three counts of smuggling of misbranded drugs, one count of receipt and delivery of misbranded drugs, four counts of misbranding by dispensing prescription drugs without a valid prescription, four counts of introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce. He is scheduled to make his initial appearance this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joel Schneider in Camden federal court. He will then be arraigned before U.S. District Judge Noel L. Hillman.
Snyder was located in China’s Jiangsu Sheng Province earlier in the month and deported back to the United States to face the pending charges. He was indicted by a federal grand jury in Camden on Dec. 9, 2015.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for protecting the health and safety of the American public by enforcing the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA), a law intended to assure that drugs are safe, effective, and bear accurate labeling containing all required information. The FDA regulates the manufacture, labeling, and distribution of all drugs shipped or received in interstate commerce.
Between May 7, 2010, through July 25, 2013, Snyder allegedly received by mail from India various parcels that were accompanied by incomplete or misleading U.S. Customs declarations. The parcels contained prescription drugs, including unapproved generics that contained the active ingredients in the popular brand-name drugs Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra, as well as unapproved Mifepristone and Misoprostol. Snyder then repackaged these wholesale quantities of drugs into smaller amounts and dispensed them to consumers. Snyder did not seek FDA approval to market these drugs nor was he licensed as a pharmacist in the State of New Jersey or otherwise authorized to prescribe or dispense prescription drugs. The parcels Snyder shipped through the U.S. Postal Service contained misbranded drugs that did not bear the FDA-approved labeling.
Snyder allegedly caused to be shipped 27 parcels addressed to him in Egg Harbor that contained more than 25,000 tablets of unapproved generic drugs containing Tadalifil (active ingredient in Cialis) and 28,000 tablets of Sildenafil Citrate (active ingredient in Viagra).
The conspiracy count carries a maximum potential penalty of up to five years in prison. The three counts of smuggling each carry a carry a maximum potential penalty of up to 20 years in prison; one count of receipt and delivery of misbranded drugs, four counts of misbranding by dispensing prescription drugs without a valid prescription, four counts of introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce each carry a maximum potential penalty of up to three years in prison. All counts carry a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the gross pecuniary gain or loss.
Acting U.S. Attorney Fitzpatrick credited special agents with Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Terence S. Opiola in Newark, New Jersey; special agents of the Food and Drug Administration, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Mark S. McCormack, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations’ Metro Washington Field Office; and postal inspectors with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Acting Inspector in Charge John Walker, Philadelphia Division, with the investigation leading to the indictment.
The government is represented by Special Litigation Counsel Jason M. Richardson of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Camden.
The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty
Defense counsel: Lisa Lewis Esq., Camden