Indian and US authorities prevent the shipment of illegal drugs and devices

A joint effort by India and the US to prevent global shipments of illicit drugs and medical devices prevented more than 500 shipments of unauthorized prescription drugs and synthetic drug precursors from reaching American consumers.

“Operation Broader Sword” is a bilateral, multi-agency enforcement effort specifically targeting illegal drugs, devices or precursor chemicals shipped through the international mail system, the US embassy said in a statement on Friday.

The operation was conducted jointly by the Indian Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and US Postal Inspection Service (USPIS).

The operation, conducted in June, prevented “500 shipments of illegal and potentially dangerous unlicensed prescription drugs, compound medical devices and synthetic drug precursors from reaching American consumers,” the statement said.

Operation Broader Sword, June 12-23, targeted packages entering the United States from India via the International Postal Facilities (IMFs) in New York (JFK) and Chicago (ORD). Investigators examined more than 1,500 shipments originating in India and took action against about 500 products, including “illegal and illicit drugs used to treat and/or alleviate serious illnesses”.

“Many shipments were found to contain opioids and other controlled substance drug products,” the statement said.

HSI special agents also conducted a “controlled delivery of a shipment of suspect products” that led to the arrest of an Indian citizen for “illegal importation of illegal medicines, including opioids and other controlled substances”.

Mark Fredrick, DEA country attaché for India, said: “US law enforcement and regulators already have a close working relationship with Indian counterparts through the bilateral counter-narcotics task force and have now expanded that collaboration to work closely under Operation Broader Sword. “

Initiatives like this operation protect people in the US and India and help India “identify traders who either want to operate in India or want to expand there,” he said. The operation is also helping Indian law enforcement “bolster protections against illicit drug flows that could harm Indian citizens.”

Such bilateral, cross-agency efforts not only prevent illegal and potentially harmful products from reaching consumers in the United States, but also provide information on shipping patterns and stakeholders that warrant additional enforcement action, the statement said.

By working together, US and Indian law enforcement officers gain insights into international criminal networks that can be used to protect citizens of both countries.

Operation Broader Sword built on the success of Operation Broadsword, which also targeted postal packages containing illegal medical products from India and was carried out at the IMF in Chicago in 2020.

The earlier operation also involved the involvement of Indian officials and prevented illegal and potentially dangerous unlicensed prescription drugs and combined medical devices from reaching consumers.

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