LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Federal authorities say a former Korean law enforcement officer was arrested Wednesday for trying to smuggle nearly 40,000 counterfeit erectile dysfunction pills through Los Angeles International Airport.
Kil Jun Lee, 71, was arrested by ICE agents at his Los Angeles apartment and was charged with trafficking in counterfeit goods.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at LAX found the phony erectile dysfunction pills — more than $700,000 worth — in his golf bag and luggage when he returned from a trip to Korea on Feb. 25. According to the criminal complaint, Lee’s luggage contained 29,827 counterfeit Viagra tablets, 8,993 fake Cialis pills and 793 phony Levitra tablets. The pills were all concealed in aluminum foil-wrapped pockets.
When questioned about whether the medication was for his personal use, Lee said if he used all of the pills, it would kill him because he had a heart condition, according to the criminal complaint.
Federal authorities say the none of the seized pills matched the ingredients contained in the genuine medication.
“When it comes to counterfeit pharmaceutical products, never has the expression ‘buyer beware’ been more true,” ICE Special Agent In Charge Claude Arnold said in a statement. “Part of what you’re paying for when you buy established brands, regardless of the product, is quality control. Imposter drugs like these pose a serious threat to users who mistakenly assume these substances are safe.”
Lee is expected to make his first appearance in federal court Wednesday.