PHILADELPHIA. April 21, 2005
The DEA closed a Philadelphia warehouse allegedly
headed by Indian nationals Brij Bhusan Bansal and
Akhil Bansal. Terry Riley, a DEA investigator
in Washington, said the Bansals smuggled drugs mainly
from India to the New York area, then repackaged them
and shipped them to customers worldwide, filling orders
from their network of Web operators. Web operators,
who accounted for more than 200 sites.
"The Bansals were the kingpins," Riley
said. "We estimate they distributed 2-million
to 3-million pills per month."
Among the pills available through the illicit Web
sites were prescription painkillers like Vicodin,
anabolic steroids and amphetamines.
While legitimate Internet drug sites require a doctor's
prescription and often offer savings to customers,
the sites targeted by the DEA investigation did neither.
"People were paying inflated prices, 300 to
400 percent above the legitimate price. But these
were people who didn't want to go to regular doctors,"
Riley said. "They also didn't know what they
were getting, because the labels were often illegible
and the strength was unknown."
There were 20 arrests in eight US cities and four
foreign countries. Domestically, arrests occurred
in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Ft Lauderdale and Sarasota,
Florida; Abilene and Tyler, Texas; New York, NY; Greenville,
SC; and Rochester, New York. Internationally, arrests
were made in San Jose, Costa Rica; New Delhi, Agra,
The investigation included agents from the FBI, U.S.
Customs Service, Internal Revenue Service, Food and
Drug Administration and the Postal Service.
Web operators face up to 20 years in jail on charges
including trafficking in controlled substances and
The indictment also seeks forfeiture of 41 bank accounts,
26 in the United States and the remainder in Cyprus,
India, Singapore, the Channel Islands, Isle of Man,
West Indies, Antigua and Ireland.
Illegal financial transactions listed in the indictment
total more than $6-million with restitution sought
for that amount.