Category Archives: Blogs

$1.2 Billion in Counterfeit Fentanyl Pills Seized in Mexico

140 pounds of fentanyl and almost 30,000 counterfeit pills containing fentanyl were seized in a search of a tractor-trailer at a checkpoint in San Luis Rio Colorado in Mexico’s Sonora state on August 19th. The drugs are believed to have been headed to the United States. The street value is estimated at over $1.2 billion dollars.

A few days earlier 30,000 counterfeit pills made with fentanyl were discovered during a traffic stop by the Tempe Arizona Police Department in connection with an investigation into the Sinaloa Cartel. The pills were designed to look like oxycodone.

Sale of Counterfeits Funding Terrorist Activities

Sale of Counterfeits Funding Terrorist Activities is hardly a surprise anymore. For example, the 2015 Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack in Paris was financed by the sale of counterfeit apparel sold on the street corner. An ABC news article that came out on September 7th points to the sale of counterfeit sneakers as a source for terrorist activities (see link below).

Authorities say sale of counterfeit sneakers can lead to terrorist financing

In Vino Duplicitas

In Vino Duplicitas by Peter Hellman is a book about Rudy Kurniawan whom I’ve covered in an earlier blog (7/30/15) and whose crime has also been made into a documentary.

Its the story of the biggest wine hoax in history. Kurniawan was a world class swindler who first established himself as one of the world’s foremost collectors and experts in evaluating wine. He then mixed wine in his kitchen and passed them off as rare wines to some of the county’s wealthiest people and wine enthusiasts.

Fake Shoes worth $87.3 million seized in China

What may be the largest seizure of fake shoes took place recently in China. A tip from Nike Sports China led the police in Bengbu to an investigation and eventual seizure of $87 million in shoes, mostly sneakers. Bengbu is located in the northern province of Anhui Province. The shoes were going to be exported to the Middle East and Africa and had a total value in excess of 600 million yuan or $87.3 million dollars. Using the Nike tip, the police identified Jinfeng Factory and its director who had served a suspended sentence of two years for manufacturing counterfeit shoes in 2008. Ten other suspects were arrested.

This seizure of shoes topped another notable seizure of shoes that involved $32 million of Adidas and Nike sneakers and took place in Chile on November 2015. The total shipment was 16,454 divided up into 474 boxes. Customs officials discovered the sneakers when they saw a discrepancy in the declared value of the shipment. The documentation declared the total value at $24,209, but the actual value was over $31,000.

Counterfeit Engagement Rings

Costco was recently found guilty of trademark counterfeiting and has been ordered to pay a total of $19.3 to Tiffany for selling engagement rings that were not made by Tiffany and were marketed as “Tiffany” engagement rings.

Costco, which intends to appeal the decision, had argued that it was using “Tiffany” as a generic term to describe a ring’s setting and had also argued that the items were not stamped or marked with the Tiffany name, nor were they sold in Tiffany’s distinct blue boxes or bags.

 

 

Vishal J. Aman: New ‘IP Czar’

Vishal J. Aman was confirmed by the Senate as the new Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC) this month. Aman was formerly the Senior Council of the House Judiciary Committee and President Trump’s nominee to replace Daniel Henry Marti.

The Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC), referred to as the ‘IP Czar,’ was created as part of the PRO-IP Act of 2008. As the new IP Czar, Mr. Aman will work in the Executive Office and serve as the chief advisor to the President on enforcement and coordination of the intellectual property efforts of the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

S.469 Affordable Prescription Drug Importation Act

20170605_Report on Counterfeit Drugs           

          “Drug importation proposals would worsen the opioid crisis – a crisis that

         has already grown substantially worse due to the powerful opioid fentanyl

         and fentanyl analogue-laced counterfeit pills being produced by illegal drug

         trafficking organizations, including in China, and reaching the United States

         through Canada and Mexico.”

“Report on the Potential Impact of Drug Importation Proposals on U.S. Law Enforcement” by Louis Freeh, et al.

 

S.469, Affordable and Safe Prescription Drug Importation Act, sponsored by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) will amend the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 384) to allow for the importation of drugs by wholesale distributors, pharmacies and individuals.  S.469 opens importation first from Canada and within two years from any country that is a member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

However, critics of S.469, notably former FBI director Louis Freeh, have criticized the bill warning that it will exacerbate the problem of counterfeit opiods, specifically fentanyl, which is a great problem throughout the United States and Canada (see attached report).

 

 

Counterfeit Fentanyl

Fentanyl, a dangerous painkiller, is 20 to 50 times more powerful than heroin. The drugs are so toxic that investigators have to wear hazmat suits during seizures. In a report by The Partnership for Safe Medicines, U.S. authorities began reporting waves of overdoses and fatalities after residents took counterfeit Xanax or opioids that contained fentanyl or fentanyl analogues in 2015. The problem has spread to at least 31 states, and recently, authorities have been seeing pills containing carfentanil, an even more powerful drug used to sedate large animals. The problem is the drug is smuggled from Canada or Mexico across the border into the United States.

According to the US Drug Enforcement Administration, hundreds of thousands of counterfeit prescription pills laced with a deadly synthetic opioid, usually fentanyl, have infiltrated the US drug market. The problem is expected to escalate.
The pills are pressed using pharmacy-grade machines to look like known prescription painkillers. An increasing number of Americans addicted to opioids are seeking out the legit painkillers illegally, and instead are buying the synthetic. They contain various amounts of fentanyl. The pills must often be tested by a lab to determine if they are counterfeit.

 

 

The Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act of 2017

Most people are unaware but the Copyright Office is located in the Library of Congress and the Register of Copyright is appointed by Librarian of Congress, who approves all regulations issued by the Copyright Office and oversees the budget. This arrangement stems from the deposit arrangement that publishers have with the Copyright Office and allows the Library easy access to the books. This arrangement worked during the 19th Century but is out of step with the scope of the Copyright Office and the complexity of copyright law.

To remedy the situation, the House of Representatives voted in favor of H.R.1695 in April which will make the Register of Copyrights a Presidential appointee, confirmed by the Senate, and creating a panel of Congressional leaders who would recommend at least three qualified candidates for the President to choose from. The Senate issued a mirror bill days later, which is also expected to pass.

Check out the link below:

https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1695

Victory Against Web Sites Offering Pirated Scholarly Papers

Elsevier, a large scientific American publisher, won a $15 million default judgement for copyright infringement against Sci-Hub and the Library of Genesis, two pirate websites that offer free downloads of tens of millions of scientific papers and books.

Alexandra Elbakyan, founder of Sci-Hub, did not appear at the trial which was in New York City. However, she sent a letter to the court stating her reasons for launching the website in 2011. While studying at a University in Kazakhstan she needed access to hundreds of scientific papers and could not afford to pay for them.

Sci-Hub connects to a database of stolen papers. If a user requests a paper in that database, Sci-Hub serves it up. If the paper is not there, Sci-Hub uses library passwords it has collected to find the paper, provides it to the searcher, and then adds it to the database.
To date, Elbakyan has made an estimated 50 million scholarly articles available on Sci-Hub. Many academics, university librarians and longtime advocates for open scholarly research are closely following her efforts. Both Sci-Hub and Library of Genesis are based in Russia.