Drug Law

Woman Arrested for Selling Fraudulent "Herbal" Drug Alternatives

| by DOJ

LAS VEGAS - - A Las Vegas woman was arrested this
morning on federal fraud charges for falsely advertising and
distributing on her website an “herbal” alternative to street drugs
which was actually an active ingredient in cough syrup and a known drug
of abuse among teenagers and young adults, announced Greg Brower,
United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.

Yamila Abraham, 34, was arrested this morning at her residence in Las
Vegas, and is scheduled to appear at 3:00 p.m. today before U.S.
Magistrate Judge Lawrence R. Leavitt. Abraham is charged in a criminal
Indictment with seven counts of mail fraud, one count of misbranding a
drug, one count of introducing goods into U.S. commerce by means of
false statements, and criminal forfeiture.

From
about January 2004 to August 2006, Abraham allegedly operated a website
called, www.Pleasureherbs.com, which falsely and fraudulently offered
for sale “herbal” alternatives to recreational street drugs, including
a product known as “Snurf.” Abraham represented that “Snurf” is “the
long awaited pill form of 10X extractions of Fevizia, Palenzia and De
la Amazon. Each tablet contains 500 mg of these herbal extractions per
pill.”

In reality, “Snurf” contains no
herbal supplements, but rather exclusively contains dextromethorphan
hydrobromide (DXM), which is a stimulant and the active ingredient in
over-the-counter cough suppressants. The amounts of DXM in “Snurf” far
exceeded the FDA’s recommended dosage for cough suppression. The
Indictment alleges that the labeling of the “Snurf” was false and
misleading and did not bear adequate directions for use or adequate
warnings against use. Abraham purchased DXM in bulk from sources around
the country and caused it to be repackaged in capsules for sale as
“Snurf.”

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The indictment alleges that on May 25, 2005, Abraham fraudulently
entered into U.S. commerce approximately 20,000 tablets containing DXM
by stating that the packaged contained 20,000 tablets of vitamin B-12.
The indictment further alleges that between November 22, 2005, and May
1, 2006, Abraham mailed seven packages of “Snurf,” from Las Vegas,
Nevada, to several locations in California, and to Springfield,
Illinois, and Indianapolis, Indiana.

If
convicted, Abraham faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine
on each mail fraud count, up to one year in prison and a $250,000 fine
on the drug misbranding count, and up to two years in prison and a
$250,000 fine on the introduction of goods into commerce by false
statements count. Additionally, if convicted, the Government seeks
forfeiture of properties of the defendant derived from the proceeds of
the crimes of up to $186,680, as well as 20,000 tablets of DXM and any
equipment used by the defendant to make counterfeit drugs.

This case is being investigated by the FDA Office of Criminal
Investigations, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the U.S.
Postal Inspection Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant
U.S. Attorney Crane M. Pomerantz.

The public
is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not
evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled
to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt
beyond a reasonable doubt.