Florida Resident, Julia Fees Sentenced for Misbranding and Money Laundering Conspiracies Involving Online Sale and Distribution of Unapproved Drug Obtained from Overseas
PITTSBURGH, PA (STL.News) A resident of Odessa, Florida, was sentenced in federal court on May 5, 2021, for one count of conspiracy to smuggle misbranded drugs into the United States and introduce them into interstate commerce, as well as one count of money laundering conspiracy, Acting United States Attorney Stephen R. Kaufman announced today.
United States District Judge Mark R. Hornak sentenced Julia Fees, 29, to four years of probation. Fees was also ordered to forfeit a total of approximately $231,000 to the United States.
During the defendant’s plea hearing on Jan. 17, 2019, Fees admitted her role in obtaining and distributing etizolam to individual consumers for their personal, recreational use. Etizolam, as Fees admitted, is a drug known as a thienodiazepine, which is chemically similar to benzodiazepines (e.g., Xanax) and carries risks of dependency, toxicity, and the possibility of fatal overdose—particularly in combination with other depressants. Etizolam is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the United States, and it cannot legally be imported, distributed, or prescribed domestically for use as a drug.