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4 Convicted in Viagra Smuggling Case

January 14, 2000

MIAMI (AP) _ Four businessmen were convicted Thursday of scheming to smuggle 70,000 doses of Viagra to Russian nightclub patrons with an undercover agent who portrayed himself as a Russian mobster.

Defense attorneys conceded the group may have broken some law, but not the one charged in the federal indictment _ conspiracy to distribute Viagra without a wholesaler’s license _ because one of them had the license.

A Miami Beach detective assigned to an organized crime task force targeting Russian crooks played the nightclub owner _ known only as Vladimir in the sting. A wholesaler, broker, shipper, lawyer and middleman got together with Vladimir in 1998 to put together the $1.6 million deal.

The imitation Russian let everyone know he was ``crooked″ and said the impotence pills were destined for the black market, prosecutors said.

The lawyer, Jon Freeman of Hallandale, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and agreed to cooperate with the prosecution of the other four _ wholesaler Victor Penafiel, middleman Arthur Goodman, shipper Lachman Raichandani and broker Matthew Scott.

Each defendant faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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