Could smuggling chloroquine make you the next 'El Chapo'? A man from Gresham, Oregon in the United States saw the current pandemic as an opportunity to get rich, by selling the drug that has been widely touted as the 'cure' for COVID-19.
Chloroquine is a drug that was manufactured in order to battle malaria. Research has shown that some cases it has been able to fight off the coronavirus as well. However, it is a dangerous drug and can also be fatal to some.
While some doctors have opted to prescribe the drug for patients suffering from the coronavirus, most governing medical bodies advise against the use of this drug for coronavirus believing it could do more harm than good.
One Oregon man recently took it upon himself to attempt to illegally purchase, manufacture and sell the pharmaceuticals in order to turn a profit. However, this did work out quite well for him. Matthew Owens was arrested following a joint investigation by the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S FDA's (Food & Drug Administration) criminal investigation unit. The investigation was initiated after a parcel was found in a Memphis FedEx facility addressed to Owens containing 123 grams of fine white powder.
According to court records the package had been shipped from Xiaoshan, China to Owens' home address. One of the investigators wrote in an affidavit:
I believe the parcel address to Ownes and containing 122.8 grams of chloroquine was intended for manufacturing and/or distribution of unapproved new drugs that are prescription drugs and are misbranded.
The investigators also had text message records between Owens and his potential clients regarding the drugs which seem to confirm their theory.
If convicted Matthew Owens risks facing up to 23 years in prison. Worth it? We hardly think so...