(NaturalNews) The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has taken a new leap toward tyranny with a major federal lawsuit filed against parcel courier FedEx, bringing outrageous charges of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and drug trafficking. The lawsuit, which seeks hundreds of millions of dollars in payoff, represents the latest effort by the DEA to protect the interests of the prescription drug cartel, which is threatened by internet pharmacies that operate outside the approved system.
Since the early 2000s, alleges the suit, FedEx has aided illegal pharmacies in the transport and distribution of controlled substances without a prescription. In its 27-page indictment, the federal government accuses FedEx of conspiring to distribute controlled substances and "misbranded drugs," as well as trafficking these substances in violation of the U.S. Controlled Substances Act and the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.
"The advent of Internet pharmacies allowed the cheap and easy distribution of massive amounts of illegal prescription drugs to every corner of the United States while allowing perpetrators to conceal their identities through the anonymity the Internet provides," reads a statement by U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag, who signed the indictment.
"This indictment highlights the importance of holding corporations that knowingly enable illegal activity responsible for their role in aiding criminal behavior."
Since when are service providers held liable for the crimes of others who abuse them?
The lawsuit is unprecedented in that it specifically targets a company that is not directly involved in illegal drug trafficking, but whose services may be used by criminals to conduct such illegal activity. It is on par with suing a knife manufacturer because someone committed a crime with one of its knives -- in this case, those selling and fulfilling orders for illegal drugs should be held accountable, not FedEx.
"Targeting a company that's two, three steps removed from the actual doctor-patient, pharmacy-patient relationship is unprecedented," stated Larry Cote, an attorney and ex-associated chief counsel at the DEA, to Bloomberg Businessweek.
Beyond this, it is company policy for FedEx not to inspect every single package that goes through its distribution centers, as this would violate the privacy of its customers. FedEx officials say they have attempted, within reason, to cooperate with the government's requests over the years, but the company has received little guidance.
"FedEx is innocent," stated Patrick Fitzgerald, a spokesman for the company, in an email statement to Businessweek. "We will plead not guilty. We will defend against this attack on the integrity and good name of FedEx and its employees."
DEA failed to provide list of illegal pharmacies to FedEx, even after request
The DEA claims in its suit that FedEx was warned at least six times since 2004 that illegal pharmacies were using its delivery service to transport prescription drugs and other controlled substances. The implication here is that FedEx has known about the problem for some time but has done little about it.
In the company's defense, FedEx says it attempted to gain access from the government to information about the illegal pharmacies on numerous occasions, but to no avail. Rather than assist FedEx in rooting out these bad businesses, the DEA instead ignored the requests, only to later file a federal lawsuit against FedEx for crimes it never committed.
"FedEx... repeatedly asked the government for a list of illegal pharmacies so it would know which ones not to do business with," adds Businessweek.
If convicted, FedEx faces fines as high as $820 million, which would add "meaningful costs and delays to an already overburdened U.S. transportation network," warned a Wall Street analyst.