A Las Vegas woman who marketed and sold an abused recreational street drug on her Web site under the pretense that it was an “herbal alternative” pleaded guilty Tuesday to federal felony fraud and drug charges, Nevada’s U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden said today.
Yamila Abraham, 34, pleaded guilty to mail fraud and misbranding a drug, and is scheduled to be sentenced on July 16. Abraham faces up to 20 years in prison on the mail fraud count and up to three years in prison on the misbranding count, and fines of up to $250,000 on each count.
According to the plea agreement, between January 2004 and August 2006, Abraham operated www. Pleasureherbs.com, which falsely and fraudulently offered for sale “herbal” alternatives to recreational street drugs, including a product known as “Snurf.” Snurf was not an “herbal supplement,” as Abraham represented, but instead was comprised entirely of dextromethorphan hydrobromide (DXM), which is a stimulant and the active ingredient in over-the-counter cough suppressants.
Abraham knew that Snurf was being used as a recreational drug in dosage amounts substantially exceeding that recommended by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Abraham also knew that this presented a substantial risk of serious bodily injury or death. She agreed to the forfeiture of $38,362 and 20,000 DXM pills.
The investigation was initiated after FDA officials in Chicago intercepted two parcels traveling to Las Vegas that had been declared as containing vitamins, but which actually contained thousands of DXM pills. FDA Office of Criminal Investigations, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service conducted the criminal investigation of the case. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Crane Pomerantz.