Federal agents have seized more than 14,000 COVID-19 treatment capsules and dozens of testing kits, saying the items were all imported from China and are fake.
A Baltimore-based team of agents from Homeland Security Investigations found the COVID-19 treatment capsules at the Port of Baltimore, hidden in boxes under packets of Chinese tea, news outlets reported.
John Eisert, HSI Baltimore special agent in charge, said his team is concerned about what’s inside the capsules, which were touted as being able to relieve coronavirus patients of their symptoms. Eisert said prior seizures of pharmaceuticals have revealed ingredients such as sheet rock, pesticides and lead.
“In uncertain times, criminals often take advantage of fear and anxiety, hawking fraudulent cures out of greed and disregard for your wellbeing. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. There are no approved test kits that you can get without going to your doctor and cures being sold online not only delay your trip to the doctor for proper care, but their ingredients can cause more harm,” he said in a statement.
HSI launched a nationwide operation, Operation Stolen Promise, to seize COVID-19 contraband. Agents also are trying to take down websites where these products are available to be purchased and shipped to the U.S.