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Monday, July 15th, 2024

Unapproved COVID-19 treatment capsules, tests seized


Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) officials said Baltimore special agents seized over 14,000 unapproved COVID-19 capsules and several COVID-19 test kits via Operation Stolen Promise.

Operation Stolen Promise is a national operation that includes local law enforcement partners in targeting COVID-19 fraud and other related criminal activity while enhancing collaboration with multiple federal agencies, as well as business and industry representatives.

“In uncertain times, criminals often take advantage of fear and anxiety, hawking fraudulent cures out of greed and disregard for your wellbeing,” HSI Baltimore Special Agent in Charge John Eisert said. “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. 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.”

Operation Stolen Promise’s scope of work includes combining HSI’s expertise in global trade, financial fraud, international operations, and cybercrime to investigate financial fraud schemes, the importation of prohibited pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, and any other illicit criminal activities associated with the virus.

“Panic-stricken consumers and predatory scammers continue to purchase unproven coronavirus pharmaceuticals and counterfeit protective and diagnostic equipment that pose a serious health threat to American consumers,” said Ronald Stanley, Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) acting director of field operations in Baltimore, said. “Customs and Border Protection will continue to work with Homeland Security Investigations and our consumer safety partners to identify and seize these potentially hazardous medical products before they could harm American consumers.”