A federal indictment alleges that FedEx, the world’s largest cargo company, conspired to traffic in controlled substances and misbranded prescription medications by helping distribute drugs for illegal Internet pharmacies. The indictment further alleges that the shipping company knew as early as 2004 that it was delivering drugs to dealers and addicts and is moving to force the company to forfeit at least $820 million linked to the proceeds from such illicit shipments. Federal prosecutors allege FedEx approved the shipping policies at top management levels, including chief financial officer and the senior vice president of sales.
The indictment is part of a growing campaign against prescription drug abuse. In another case brought by San Francisco U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag, United Parcel Service last year settled similar allegations, agreeing to pay $40 million after being linked to the sales of shipping prescription drugs sold by illegal online pharmacies.
FedEx vowed to fight the charges.
“FedEx is innocent of the charges,” the company said in a statement. “We will plead not guilty. We will defend against this attack on the integrity and good name of FedEx and its employees.”
FedEx has said in the past that it would not settle because the company does not believe it has committed any wrongdoing, arguing that it should not be held responsible for the contents of tens of millions of packages it regularly ships. FedEx has disclosed in regulatory filings that it has been a target of a grand jury investigation for at least the past four years.