Indian convicted in int'l Internet drug ring in US
The jury deliberated a day following a seven-week trial before convicting Akhil Bansal and Fred Mullinix on Monday on all counts.india Updated: Apr 18, 2006 12:32 IST
A federal jury convicted two men, including an Indian, who allegedly used the Internet to illegally peddle prescription drugs worldwide to tens of thousands of people.
The jury deliberated a day following a seven-week trial before convicting Akhil Bansal and Fred Mullinix on Monday on all counts.
Prosecutors said that Bansal, a Temple University graduate student, and his physician father, Brij Bhushan Bansal, currently in custody in India, headed the network.
Orders were filled for millions of pills placed by more than 4,500 buyers through at least 20 Web sites, one of which was operated by Mullinix, officials said.
"This case shows us how the Internet has opened the door to an unregulated universe from which anyone with access to a computer can purchase just about anything," US Attorney Patrick Meehan said. "It's a dangerous way to bypass the safeguards that are in place to protect the public."
Mullinix's attorney, Steven Laver, said he planned to appeal. Akhil Bansal's attorney, Richard R Harris, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Seventeen people, including Brij Bansal and three of his children, were charged last April with selling prescription drugs to American buyers through online pharmacy sites and with laundering millions of dollars in proceeds.
Three other defendants are awaiting trial, and the others have either pleaded guilty or are awaiting extradition from Australia or India, Meehan said. Authorities said the Bansals allegedly obtained the drugs in India and sent them to the United States, where they were redistributed.
Drugs meant to aid sexual dysfunction were among the most popular in the scheme, Meehan has said.