Feds: Man misled about erectile-dysfunction pills
Police say an Etters-area man and gas station played a role in an alleged erectile-dysfunction drug scheme that stretched from coast to coast.
Ahed Hbaiu, 32, who's also known as Edward Shami, has a warrant out for his arrest after he allegedly fled the county in an effort to avoid federal prosecution on felony charges including conspiracy to deliver misbranded drugs and structuring financial transactions.
Two of Hbaiu's co-defendants, Los Angeles residents Almuntasser "Alex" Hbaiu, 34, and Michael Kang, 46, pleaded guilty in federal court in California and on Feb. 11 were sentenced for their crimes. Alex Hbaiu will do two years in prison, pay a $60,000 fine, forfeit a Hummelstown home, $20,000 cash and two bank accounts and destroy all his remaining erectile-dysfunction pills, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Harrisburg.
Kang will spend one month in prison followed by five months on home confinement, as well as pay a $5,000 fine, according to the news release.
Los Angeles residents Gil Conrad Dizon, 28, and Christopher Mouzon, 27, are also co-defendants in this case. Mouzon in July was sentenced to six months and four more months in home confinement after giving false testimony to the grand jury, the release states. Dizon has fled the country, authorities allege, and is said to be in the Philippines.
Authorities allege the conspirators between 2008 and 2012 ran a range of companies called things such as "Get It Up, Inc." that sold erectile-dysfunction drugs with names including "Blue Diamond," "Libigrow" — and "Libigrow XXXtreme" — "Mojo Nights" and "Mega Kamasutra."
The biggest bone the federal government has to pick with them is in the branding of these items as "dietary supplements" rather than drugs, a misdirection authorities allege was to avoid federal regulation.
These drugs contain sildenafil citrate and tadalafil, the active ingredients in existing erectile-dysfunction drugs Viagra and Cialis respectively, authorities allege. The makers of Viagra and Cialis are the only companies right now the federal Food and Drug Administration has cleared to market those drugs.
Because the accused men classified their drugs as "dietary supplements" — "natural performance enhancers" like those one could pick up in a grocery-store aisle — which don't have drugs in them, the FDA treats them as food rather than drugs. This means the agency doesn't regulate them as heavily as it would have had the items been properly classified as drugs, according to online court documents.
Court documents don't say how much money these men allegedly gained through this purported scheme, but documents detail amounts of money of more than $2 million being moved around.
Authorities allege Ahed Hbaiu, the Etters man, ran the 1 Stop Sunoco Gas Station and Convenience store at 2200 Old Trail Road in Newberry Township, as well as organizations called Caliber Investments and Eclipse Builders, which were also incorporated in York County. He sold the drugs over the counter at the gas station, according to authorities.
Authorities say the men also structured their financial transactions in a way that allowed them to avoid cash reporting requirements. A "substantial" portion of this money was funneled through those York County companies, authorities allege.
Charges originally were brought in federal court in Pennsylvania in 2013 before being transferred to federal court in California a few months later.
— Reach Sean Cotter at firstname.lastname@example.org.