U.S. holds two Pakistani men for Internet sales of controlled substances

The FDA and U.S. law enforcement are continuing their crackdown on Internet sales of illegally imported drugs, even enlisting the help of Interpol and police in London and Germany to track and arrest two Pakistani men accused of selling controlled substances online.

Sheikh Waseem Ul Haq, 40, and Tahir Saeed, 51, were arrested last fall in London but recently were extradited to the U.S., where they are accused of selling $780,000 in drugs, including unapproved versions of methylphenidate, sold as Ritalin; alprazolam, sold as Xanax; and clonazepam, sold as Klonopin. They ran two businesses out of Pakistan, Waseem Enterprises and Harry's Enterprises, and allegedly bribed Pakistani customs officials to get the drugs out of the country. They were tracked by authorities when they left Pakistan for London last year. They face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

Authorities have ratcheted up their efforts to interfere with illegal internet sales of drugs after it was discovered last year that physician cancer clinics had bought counterfeit batches of Avastin, the colon cancer drug made by Roche ($RHHBY). An investigation by The Wall Street Journal said the sales were tied to companies associated with CanadaDrugs.com, an online discount wholesaler and retailer. More counterfeits have shown up since then.

Last month, the feds extracted a guilty plea from Paul Bottomley, who worked on contract for Montana Healthcare Solutions, a subsidiary of Canada Drugs through which doctors allegedly bought the fake Avastin. Bottomley also handed over $1 million, 10 parcels of land and a 2011 Aston Martin as part of the case. Authorities have also worked with Interpol to try to shut down some of the international websites that sell the drugs.

- here's the Department of Justice release