LEBANON COUNTY, Pa. — A 55-year-old Lebanon man will serve up to 70 months in federal prison after a sentencing hearing Thursday in U.S. Middle District Court.
Stefen Knoche admitted to trafficking in counterfeit drugs, according to U.S. Attorney Bruce D. Brandler. In addition to his prison term, Knoche was ordered to pay $3,648,911.18 in restitution by U.S. District Court Judge Sylvia Rambo.
Brandler said Knoche previously admitted that he intentionally trafficked drugs, knowing them to contain counterfeit marks of pharmaceutical manufacturers Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, Bayer AG, Eli Lilly and Company, and Roche Holding AG between May 2017 and April 2018.
Knoche further acknowledged that he trafficked counterfeit Viagra, Aurogra, Xanax, Levitra, Cialis, and Valium, all using counterfeit trademarks of their respective pharmaceutical companies, Brandler said.
“The U.S. Postal Inspection Service continues to prioritize eliminating contraband to include illegal prescription drugs from the U.S. Mail,” said Inspector in Charge Damon Wood, U.S. Postal Inspection Service Philadelphia Division. “We are committed to bringing all members of illegal drug trafficking organizations who utilize the U.S. Mail to justice.”
“Selling illegal prescription drugs in the U.S. marketplace puts consumers’ health at risk,” said Special Agent in Charge Mark S. McCormack, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations Metro Washington Field Office. “The FDA remains fully committed to disrupting and dismantling illegal prescription drug distribution networks that misuse the internet at the expense of public health and safety.”
“Today’s sentence demonstrates what can be accomplished when the Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and U.S. Food and Drug Administration Office of Criminal Investigations, combine resources to investigate and apprehend criminals whose illicit actions harm Americans,” said Brian A. Michael, Special Agent in Charge for Homeland Security Investigations Philadelphia. “Together we are committed to pursuing justice by investigating, dismantling, prosecuting criminals like the defendant to the fullest extent of the law.”