Man pleads not guilty to selling imposter pills

A Brownsville man accused of selling counterfeit Viagra, Cialis and other sexual enhancement drugs pleaded not guilty Thursday morning to an eight-count indictment leveled against him.

Rene Soriano is accused of using Facebook and Craigslist to peddle counterfeit pharmaceuticals he acquired from suppliers in India and Singapore during a five-year period.

He is charged with fraudulently and knowingly importing to sell and introduce misbranded drugs with the intent to defraud and mislead from March 2013 to May 3, 2018, the day federal authorities arrested him.

“It was the object of the conspiracy to smuggle counterfeit, unapproved and misbranded prescription drugs from India and Singapore to sell and deliver the drugs to customers in the United States, according to the indictment.

The total appraised value of the counterfeit sexual enhancement drugs Soriano is accused of illegally peddling is $112,597.16, according to the criminal complaint.

The counterfeit medication he’s charged with selling on multiple Facebook pages, including the popular La Pulga Online, was addressed from Chinmay Overseas, according to the criminal complaint. The investigation into Soriano began in November 2017, when Homeland Security Investigations, in coordination with the United States Postal Inspection Service, noticed suspicious packages being delivered to three Brownsville addresses associated with Soriano. Federal investigators followed Soriano’s electronic social media trail all the way back to March 2013.

A federal magistrate judge granted Soriano a $50,000 bond with a $2,000 cash deposit May 9 after his arrest, court records indicate.

Soriano is scheduled for trial on Aug. 2.