Eight men, including five from Queens, were arrested for their alleged roles in a opioid distribution ring, prosecutors announced Thursday.
The defendants were identified as Ezhil Sezhian Kamaldoss, 46, of Richmond Hill; Harpreet Singh, 28, of Plainview; Parthiban Narayanasamy, 58, of Jamaica; Baljeet Singh, 29, of Richmond Hill; Deepak Manchanda, 43, of Deer Park; Gulab Gulab, 45, of Richmond Hill; Mukul Chugh, 24, of Long Island City; and Vikas M. Verma, 45, of Dix Hills. They face charges related to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance containing Tramadol, a synthetic opioid that
If convicted, the defendant Kamaldoss, who also faces money laundering charges, faces up to 25 years in prison. The remaining defendants each face up to five years in prison.
“As alleged, the defendants participated in a black market for prescription medications by distributing millions of opioid pills in tens of thousands of transactions in one year alone,” stated United States Attorney Richard P. Donoghue. “This Office and our law enforcement partners will continue to vigorously investigate and prosecute those who profit from the suffering wrought by opioid distribution in the United States.”
According to the indictment, since January 2018 law enforcement agents with FDA-OCI, USPIS, HSI, CBP, DEA, FBI and other agencies have been investigating the large-scale importation of misbranded controlled substances from India into the United States. The investigation included looking into importing Tramadol, a synthetic opioid.
The defendants’ scheme allegedly had distributors in India ship misbranded Tramadol and other drugs to individuals and entities in the United States through the U.S. mail and other commercial couriers. The group allegedly operated primarily out of a warehouse in Queens where they repackaged the pills and mailed them to customers throughout the United States.
Charges say that the group of defendants allegedly maintained daily ledgers detailing the names, addresses, pill size and pill amounts ordered by customers. During the course of the investigation, it’s alleged that the defendants distributed millions of Tramadol pills.
“The importation of mislabeled drugs is both dangerous and illegal,” stated FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Todd A. Wickerham. “It contributes to the ongoing opioid crisis in our nation and causes harm to our communities.”