Criminal defense: Conviction for selling drugs inside diet pills

A 54-year-old Louisiana woman appeared in federal court on charges of distributing diet pills containing controlled substances after representing them as natural products. On March 22, the woman was convicted of three federal offenses each of distributing controlled substances and providing interstate commerce with misbranded drugs. The jury reportedly reached the verdict after a trial that lasted seven days. Her fate will now be in the hands of the judge presiding over the proceedings, and her criminal defense attorney is likely focused on presenting mitigating circumstances at the sentencing hearing.

The controlled substance in the diet pills was identified as Sibutramine, which was also present in Meridia -- a dietary product linked to stroke and heart attack risks, and banned nationwide in 2010. According to court documents, the defendant was aware of the controlled dangerous substance in the pills but continued to market and sell them to unsuspecting customers. Evidence apparently indicated that the woman gained about $100,000 from the scheme, which continued from 2009 through 2014.

It also came to light that the defendant obtained the diet pills from her accomplice, who imported it from China. He then supplied his distributors -- of which the now convicted woman was one -- who, in turn, marketed them to consumers in multiple states. The diet pills were sold under several different brand names.

According to U.S. Attorney Walt Green, sentencing can include forfeiture of proceeds, restitution, fines and incarceration that may be followed by supervised release. Under such circumstances, the ongoing support of an experienced criminal defense attorney can be invaluable. When a Louisiana resident is facing the wrath of the government and all its resources, a strong advocate will do everything reasonably possible to obtain the best possible outcome under the circumstances.

Source: heraldguide.com, "Hahnville woman busted selling drugs as diet pills", Anna Thibodeaux, April 8, 2016

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