July 7, 2023
Bilateral Multi-Agency Enforcement Operation Identifies Illicit and Illegal Medical Products Shipped Using the International Mail System
New Delhi: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), in collaboration with the Government of India’s Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) conducted Operation Broader Sword, a special bilateral multi-agency enforcement operation targeting illicit pharmaceuticals, devices, or precursor chemicals shipped using the international mail system. The operation, carried out in June 2023, stopped over 500 shipments of illicit, and potentially dangerous, unapproved prescription drugs, combination medical devices, and synthetic drug precursors from reaching American consumers.
Operation Broader Sword targeted packages entering the U.S. from India through the New York (JFK) and Chicago (ORD) International Mail Facilities (IMFs) from June 12-23. During the operation, investigators examined more than 1500 shipments originating in India, taking action on approximately 500 products, including illicit and illegal medications intended to treat and or mitigate serious diseases. Many shipments were determined to have included opioid and other controlled substance drug products. In anticipation of the Operation, HSI special agents conducted a controlled delivery of a shipment of suspected products resulting in the arrest of an Indian national for the illegal importation of illicit pharmaceuticals including opioids and other controlled substances.
“U.S. law enforcement and regulatory agencies already enjoy a strong working relationship with Indian counterparts under the bilateral Counternarcotics Working Group and now have expanded that cooperation to work closely under Operation Broader Sword,” said Mark Fredrick, DEA Country Attaché. “Initiatives like Operation Broader Sword protect people in both the U.S. and India, helping India identify traffickers who either operate or seek to expand into India, and also helping India law enforcement strengthen protections against flows of illicit drugs that may harm Indian citizens.”
Bilateral, multi-agency efforts such as Operation Broader Sword serve not only to interdict illegal and potentially harmful products from reaching consumers in the U.S., but also provide information on shipping patterns and parties of interest that warrant additional enforcement actions. Working together, U.S. and Indian law enforcement officials gain an understanding of international criminal networks which can be leveraged to further protect the citizens of both countries.
Operation Broader Sword built upon the success of Operation Broadsword (which also targeted mail parcels containing illicit medical products from India) conducted in 2020, at Chicago IMF, that included the participation of Government of India officials. This operation stopped shipments of illicit, and potentially dangerous, unapproved prescription drugs and combination medical devices from reaching consumers and provided leads on individuals (points of origin) that facilitated additional law enforcement follow up in India and the U.S.