The "male enhancement" pills had names like Maxman, Rock Hard Weekend and Stiff Nights and were sold as natural dietary supplements.
The hidden ingredient: the same one in prescription drug Viagra.
Now, a Decatur man has been sentenced to prison and has lost his U.S. citizenship in connection with the scheme to illegally import and distribute the pills.
When the pills came in from China, the boxes were listed on Customs forms to appear to contain beauty products, pottery, coffee and tea, according to the Department of Justice. Ismail Ali Khan and others had the pills sent to multiple addresses in the Atlanta area - including Marietta, Snellville, Alpharetta, Roswell, Atlanta and Decatur - then repacked them at storage units they rented.
They kept on the move so law enforcement wouldn't find them, DOJ said. Khan and his cohorts also used aliases, false addresses and fake business names and misrepresented the nature of their business when they rented the storage units and mailboxes.
Finally, in 2014 federal authorities caught on. Earlier this year, a jury convicted Khan of conspiring to illegally import and distribute the pills in interstate commerce. This week, he was sentenced to five years and seven months in prison on those counts.
A lie also cost him his citizenship.
As his import scheme went on for years, Khan had applied to become a U.S. citizen. On his application, he answered no to a question about whether he had ever committed a crime for which he hadn't been arrested. He repeated the lie in interviews for his citizenship.
In sentencing Khan, Judge Steve C. Jones ordered that Khan's status as a naturalized citizen be revoked. Jones also ordered that Khan immediately be deported to his native India once he completes his prison term.
Others accused in the case took plea deals. One of the other defendants, Ahmed Ali Khan, was sentenced to time served and ordered to be turned over to immigration authorities for removal proceedings, court records show.
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Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com