November 20, 2017: Vitamin Shop Owner Sentenced for Misbranded Drugs and Controlled Substance Conviction
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A 33-year-old resident of Corpus Christi has been ordered to federal prison following his convictions of possessing a controlled substance with the intent to distribute and receiving a misbranded drug in interstate commerce, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez along with Special Agent in Charge Spencer E. Morrison of the Food and Drug Administration - Office of Criminal Investigations’ Kansas City Field Office. Elias Trevino Jr. pleaded guilty May 15, 2017.
Today, Senior U.S. District Judge John D. Rainey handed Trevino a 12-month term of imprisonment. In handing down the sentence, Judge Rainey noted that FDA regulations are in place to protect the public which Trevino repeatedly violated. “The is egregious conduct that I can’t ignore” he said. Trevino will also be required to serve three years of supervised release following completion of the prison term.
“Drugs labeled as natural dietary supplements that contain undeclared, dangerous ingredients present a serious risk to consumers’ health,” said Morrison. “We will continue to pursue and bring to justice criminals who endanger the public by offering and distributing such falsely labeled and dangerous drugs.”
Trevino was one of the owners of X2Zero, a store selling dietary supplements online and through stores located in Corpus Christi. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) determined a number of products sold there as “herbal weight loss supplements” were found to contain misbranded or unapproved foreign drugs.
In 1997, the (FDA) approved a prescription drug containing sibutramine under the trade name Meridia for the management of obesity. In October 2010, the FDA requested the Meridia marketer to withdraw the drug from the United States market due to the health risks associated with sibutramine, including an increased risk of heart attack, stroke and death. On Dec. 21, 2010, at the request of the manufacturer, the FDA withdrew its approval of Meridia. Since that time, no drug containing sibutramine has been approved for human use in the United States.
At the time of his guilty plea, Trevino admitted he knowingly possessed and sold diet drugs containing sibutramine. He acknowledged he imported the drugs from China and sold them through both the X2Zero store in Corpus Christi and on the Internet in violation of the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.
Previously released on bond, Trevino was taken into custody following the sentencing today where he will remain pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
The FDA - Office of Criminal Investigations conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert D. Thorpe Jr. is prosecuted the case.