New York Man Indicted in St. Louis, Accused of Selling Counterfeit Xanax on Dark Web

ST. LOUIS – A man from New York state has been indicted in federal court in St. Louis and accused of selling counterfeit Xanax on the dark web.

John Cruz, 29, of Rochester, was indicted March 1 on one count of conspiracy to misbrand, introduce misbranded drugs and sell counterfeit drugs. He was arrested March 15 and appeared in U.S. District Court in St. Louis Friday by Zoom. He has pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The indictment alleges that using cryptocurrency, Cruz bought bulk quantities of counterfeit generic alprazolam, an anti-anxiety drug, from another person on the dark web who has sold millions of the pills. That person manufactured the pills using active drug ingredients from China, a pill press and stamps that would mimic the markings used on pills produced by manufacturers licensed and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The pills were delivered to Cruz in Rochester, New York and he then redistributed the pills to various customers, the indictment alleges.

The charge is punishable by up to five years in prison, a $250,000 fine or both.

Charges set forth in an indictment are merely accusations and do not constitute proof of guilt.  Every defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The case was investigated by the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Assistant U.S. Attorneys John Ware and Kyle Bateman are prosecuting the case.

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