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May 31, 2018: Two Suburban Chicago Residents Charged with Illegally Selling Narcotics Over the Internet; Law Enforcement Seizes Websites


OCI Small Clear Seal 

 

Food & Drug Administration 
Office of Criminal Investigations

 

CHICAGO — Two suburban Chicago residents have been charged with federal drug offenses for illegally selling fentanyl or fentanyl precursors over the internet, and authorities have seized their websites.

 

LIANGFU “LARRY” HUANG used his company, Ark Pharm Inc., to sell controlled substances – including a fentanyl precursor – over the internet, despite not registering with federal or state authorities, according to a criminal complaint & affidavit filed in federal court in Chicago.  Ark Pharm, which is based in Arlington Heights, Ill., offered various drugs for sale on its website (http://www.arkpharminc.com (link is external)).  Huang, 53, of Northbrook, Ill., was arrested Wednesday night after arriving at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago on a flight from China.  He is charged with one count of conspiracy to knowingly & intentionally possess with intent to distribute, & to distribute, a controlled substance.

 

In a related case, WEI XU, also known as “Scarlett Hsu,” used her company, 1717 CheMall Corp., to illegally sell fentanyl & other controlled substances without registering with federal or state authorities, according to the complaint against her.  1717 CheMall Corp., which is based in Mundelein, Ill., offered various drugs for sale on its website (http://www.1717chem.com (link is external)), including the opioids ocfentanil, oxycodone & hydrocodone, the complaint states.  Visitors to the website could search for a drug & order it from the site’s “estore,” the complaint states.  Xu, 52, of Vernon Hills, Ill., was arrested Wednesday.  She is charged with one count of knowingly distributing a controlled substance.

 

Also Wednesday, law enforcement agents carried out court-authorized searches of Ark Pharm’s & 1717 CheMall’s businesses and seized their websites.

 

The charges were announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions; John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois;  Brian McKnight, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration; & Gabriel L. Grchan, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Inquiry Division in Chicago.  Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration; U.S. Customs and Border Protection; Mundelein, Ill., Police Dept.; Arlington Heights, Ill., Police Department; Skokie, Ill., Police Department; Northern Illinois Police Alarm System (NIPAS); & Weapons of Mass Destruction Special Response Team North.

 

“Synthetic opioids killed 20,000 Americans in 2016–more than any other kind of drug,” said Attorney General Sessions.  “The vast majority of these drugs originated in China & then either shipped through the mail or smuggled across our porous Southwest Border. Under President Trump’s strong leadership, the Justice Dept. has taken historic new steps to target Chinese drug traffickers, & today’s indictments are our next step.  I want to thank DEA, U.S. Attorney John Lausch, Assistant U.S. Attorney Devlin Su, our partners with CBP, IRS, & the FDA & especially our state & local law enforcement partners who helped make this possible. The Department of Justice will remain relentless in our efforts to keep these deadly drugs out of our country & finally put an end to this unprecedented drug epidemic.”

 

“The charges announced today are the result of an exhaustive & far-reaching investigation,” said U.S. Attorney Lausch.  “Whether it’s online or on the streets, our office is committed to aggressively stopping the flow of illegal drugs.”

 

“Powerful pharmaceutical medications, fentanyl & fentanyl-related substances are creating a chokehold on our society,” said Special Agent-in-Charge McKnight.  “Today’s enforcement actions send a clear message to those who utilize the internet to poison our communities:  We will find you and you will be held accountable.”

 

“There is no room in the Chicagoland area for the illegal selling of fentanyl & other pharmaceuticals,” said Special Agent-in-Charge Grchan.  “IRS Criminal Investigation is committed to using its resources &  financial expertise to partner with all law enforcement agencies in order to keep our communities safe from the illegal distribution & usages of these & other dangerous drugs.”

 

Huang & Xu appeared today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mary M. Rowland, who ordered them to remain in federal custody.  A detention hearing is set for June 5, 2018, at 11:00 a.m.

 

According to the complaint, authorities at the U.S. border seized a dozen packages of crystal meth & other controlled substances that had been shipped from China to Ark Pharm’s headquarters.  The shipments purported to contain routine goods such as plastic toys.  From November 2016 to earlier this month, law enforcement surreptitiously corresponded with email accounts belonging to Ark Pharm, & conducted five undercover purchases of controlled substances from the company.  The drugs were shipped via FedEx, often with Huang’s name listed as the sender, the complaint states.

 

Authorities performed similar controlled purchases of narcotics at 1717 CheMall Corp. from August 2017 to earlier this month.  During the ordering process, agents corresponded via email and telephone with Xu, who was using her “Scarlett Hsu” alias, according to the complaint.  The drugs from 1717 CheMall were shipped via FedEx, with Xu’s name listed as the sender, the charges allege.

 

The public is reminded that a complaint contains only charges & is not evidence of guilt.  The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  The charges against Huang & Xu each carry a maximum sentence of 20 years.  If convicted, the Court must impose reasonable sentences under federal sentencing statutes & the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.

 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Devlin N. Su represents the government.

 

Attachment(s): 

Download Huang complaint

Download Xu complaint

 

Topic(s): 

Cyber Crime

Drug Trafficking

Opioids

Prescription Drugs

 

Component(s): 

USAO – Illinois, Northern

 

Updated: June 6, 2018 — 5:25 pm

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