Defendant Pleads Guilty in Animal Drug Smuggling Charges
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) _ An Illinois veterinarian and a New York importer pleaded guilty Tuesday to two felony charges each in the unlawful importing of unapproved animal drugs.
Robert Clack of Pittsfield, Ill., and Heinz Dall of Ossining, N.Y., could be jailed for up to 10 years, with Dall facing fines of more than $500,000 and Clack up to $260,000.
Clack pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and another of making a false statement in the hearing before U.S. District Judge David Hansen.
Dall pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge and another stemming from the importing of the illegal drug chloramphenicol.
More than a dozen additional charges against both men will be dropped when they are sentenced July 18.
Clack, Dall and Jeffery Engel, president of the now defunct Custom Feed Blenders of Fort Dodge, were charged last November with conspiring to ship tons of cheap, outlawed toxic drugs from Canada to animal feed manufacturers and veterinarians throughout the Midwest. The antibiotics are mixed with feed to prevent the spread of disease in animals.
Engel earlier pleaded guilty to three counts.
Two of the 16 drugs that Clark and Dall were charged with smuggling into the United States are prohibited from being used in any food animal, while three are prohibited in hogs or cattle because of their toxicity.
The government says four others are carcinogens and one, chloramphenicol, is a powerful antibiotic which has been linked to aplastic anemia, a leukemia- like blood disorder.
Richard Teske, deputy director of the Center for Veterinary Medicine at the Food and Drug Administration, Rockville, Md., said that chloramphenicol is so potent that any dose is critical.
″If you are sensitive to it, even a very tiny amount would be enough to trigger this response,″ he said. He said the chemical is a broad spectrum antibiotic made in China or Eastern European countries.