Brownsville man admits to selling fake Viagra

Rene Soriano pleaded guilty to three counts of introducing misbranded drugs without adequate directions for use into interstate commerce after reaching a plea deal with the government.

According to federal prosecutors, Soriano conspired with suppliers in India and Singapore to traffic counterfeit erectile dysfunction pharmaceuticals from March 2013 to May 3, 2018.

“It was the object of the conspiracy to smuggle counterfeit, unapproved and misbranded prescription drugs from India and Signapore to sell and deliver the drugs to customers in the United States,” according to the indictment.

The total appraised value of the counterfeit sexual enhancement drugs Soriano illegally peddled is nearly $112,600, according to the criminal complaint.

Soriano admitted to using multiple Facebook pages, including the popular La Pulga Online, and Craigslist to sell the fake drugs.

Homeland Security Investigations, in coordination with the United States Postal Inspection Service, began investigating Soriano in November 2017 after noticing suspicious packages being delivered to three Brownsville addresses associated with Soriano.

The Food and Drug Administration, the Intellectual Property Rights National Coordination Center and private companies also joined in the investigation into Soriano’s selling of counterfeit pharmaceutical products to customers in the United States via the phone and internet.

Authorities reported in court documents that they seized multiple packages destined for Soriano’s addresses; photographed him receiving packages; pored through Facebook pages associated with Soriano and Craigslist advertisements he posted; and undercover agents successfully negotiated and purchased sexual enhancement medications from Soriano.

He is scheduled for sentencing on May 14 at 8:30 a.m. in front of U.S. District Judge Fernando Rodriguez and faces up to three years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

In return for his guilty plea, federal prosecutors will recommend a sentence at the low end of the guidelines and move to dismiss the remaining counts against Soriano, which include engaging in wholesale distribution of prescription drugs without being licensed by the State of Texas; knowingly and intentionally trafficking in counterfeit pharmaceuticals; and two counts of fraudulently importing, selling and transporting misbranded drugs from India contrary to federal laws.