Valley man accused of selling counterfeit Viagra

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by Christina O'Haver

Video report by Tanya Mendis

Posted on June 6, 2014 at 9:43 PM

Updated Monday, Jun 9 at 11:53 AM

PHOENIX -- A Valley man has been arrested for allegedly selling counterfeit sexual stimulants online for more than a year.

Melvin John Rutkowski, 68, was reportedly in possession of thousands of counterfeit pills when Phoenix police served a search warrant during a traffic stop Wednesday evening near 64th Street and Greenway Parkway.

Police said the pills were marked under the brands Viagra, Cialis and Levitra. Detectives also confiscated more than 500 oral gel packs of Kamagra, a sexual stimulant produced and legally sold in India but banned for sale in the United States.

Pharmaceutical company Pfizer, Inc. enlisted the services of a private security company in April to assist in the investigation into possible counterfeit Pfizer products being sold online.

The private company purchased the Viagra, and the product was tested for authenticity. Pfizer determined the stimulant was counterfeit and while it did have a percentage of the active ingredient used in legitimate Viagra pills, there were other chemicals that were not recognized, according to police.

Police said the counterfeit products were being shipped to Rutkowski from India through the U.S. Postal Service.

Rutkowski reportedly admitted to selling the pills to supplement his income, saying he had been selling them consistently for more than a year.

He also told investigators he advertised the products on Craigslist to build a customer base, according to Maricopa County Superior Court documents.

The more than 3,000 pills recovered have a retail value of more than $10,000, court documents showed.

Rutkowski told 3TV's Tanya Mendis that the whole thing is "silly" and that he was just trying to help a friend.

According to court documents, Rutkowski was giving the counterfeit pills to another person, who was also selling them.

Rutkowski is being charged with a counterfeit mark violation and the illegal control of an enterprise, both felonies.

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