ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. (WITN)- A man in the east will be spending the next year behind bars after pleading guilty to selling counterfeit male enhancement pills.
Edenton Police say that Jamal Aqel, 66, of Rocky Mount, was sentenced to ten months and one day this past Monday in U.S. District Court. Following his release Aqel will be on federal probation for three years.
The case was launched in 2016 after Edenton Police Chief Henry King, Jr., then a lieutenant with Rocky Mount Police, received a tip that Aqel was selling counterfeit Viagra pills in Rocky Mount.
Investigators say that Aqel was responsible for selling and/or in possession of over 7,000 counterfeit Viagra and Cialis pill with a retail value of $42 per pilll. Both pills require a prescription.
Prosecutors say that Aqel would purchase the pills from his supplier at 50 cents or $1 per pill, and would then sell them to stores in Rocky Mount, Tarboro, and Pinetops for $2.85 per pill. Officials say the stores would then turn around and sell the pills for $7 to $10 to citizens.
The pills were tested by Pfizer Lab and determined to be counterfeit.
"This is not a harmless crime. people could die, for example suffer from a heart attack," said King, "Law enforcement would not have any idea that the cause of death could have been related to the person taking a counterfeit Viagra or Cialis pill.
"I hope that this sends a clear message to all the counterfeiters that are dealing in Viagra and Cialis pills that you too are subject to both federal and state prosecution. You are no different than the person who is selling real drugs," King said.