Investigators Seize Fake COVID-19 Treatment at Port of Baltimore


Published Jun 11, 2020 6:10 PM by The Maritime Executive

Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents in Baltimore have seized 14,000 capsules of fake COVID-19 medication at the Port of Baltimore. The consignment was hidden inside of boxes containing Chinese tea, HSI told local media. 

"In uncertain times, criminals often take advantage of fear and anxiety, hawking fraudulent cures out of greed and disregard for your wellbeing. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is," said HSI Baltimore special agent in charge John Eisert in a statement. "There are no approved test kits that you can get without going to your doctor and cures being sold online not only delay your trip to the doctor for proper care, but their ingredients can cause more harm."

According to HSI, previous seizures of fake COVID treatment pills have revealed potentially dangerous contents, like lead, pesticides and sheetrock. 

The seizure is part of a multi-agency initiative called Operation Stolen Promise, which targets COVID-19 fraud and related criminal activity. Officials say that the surging criminal activity surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic requires a coordinated, targeted response. 

Customs and Border Protection has also been active in interdicting fake COVID-19-related goods. Since the start of the outbreak, CBP has seized more than 100,000 FDA-prohibited COVID-19 test kits, 750,000 counterfeit face masks, 2,500 EPA-prohibited anti-virus lanyards and 11,000 FDA-prohibited chloroquine tablets.

“Criminals and other bad actors are trying to profit from the coronavirus pandemic by introducing unauthorized, unproven and potentially unsafe goods into the United States,” said CBP Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan. “CBP continues to target these dangerous shipments while facilitating the entry of legitimate pharmaceuticals and medical supplies that are needed to protect Americans.”