Prosecutors claim the federal government warned FedEx about drug distribution at least six times.
A federal grand jury indicted shipping company FedEx Thursday on charges of shipping prescription drugs for illegal online pharmacies.
Prosecutors say that Congress, the Drug Enforcement Administration and other federal agencies warned FedEx for nearly a decade that their shipping services were being used to illegally distribute drugs like oxycodone and hydrocodone. However, prosecutors say, the largest cargo company in the world ignored the notices.
FedEx allegedly “departed from its usual business practices” to allow the drug trade to continue. FexEx, according to the indictment, was aware of two major illegal online pharmacies—the Chhabra-Smoley organization and Superior Drugs. Top managers at FedEx allegedly approved these practices.
“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,” said U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag in a statement Thursday. “This indictment highlights the importance of holding corporations that knowingly enable illegal activity responsible for their role in aiding criminal behavior.”
FedEx said they would fight the charges.
“FedEx is innocent of the charges brought today by the Department of Justice,” said Patrick Fitzgerald, FedEx’s senior vice president of marketing and communications, 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.”
Story from TIME.com
Amazon is asking regulators to allow the company to test its delivery drones a little bit closer to home.
The online retail giant sent a letter Wednesday asking the Federal Aviation Administration to ease its restrictions on drone-testing in the U.S. in order to allow Amazon to experiment with its unmanned aircraft outdoors near the company’s Seattle headquarters instead of one of the six FAA-approved sites elsewhere in the country.
Amazon’s developmental efforts are part of its plan to one day launch a drone delivery program, called Amazon Prime Air, to carry packages as heavy as five pounds to customers’ homes with drones that can fly as fast as 50 miles per hour. The company’s announcement of the idea gained quite a bit of attention last year, despite an uncertain timeframe for implementation.
The FAA has maintained that unmanned aerial vehicles are only to be used for recreational purposes, and not for commercial reasons, until it is able to come up with rules by which it can regulate the industry. The agency also said last year that it will sanction six outdoor drone-testing sites in the U.S., located in Alaska, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Texas and Virginia.
But, Amazon AMZN 3.96% wants to move its testing out of its indoor facilities in order to accelerate the development of its aerial fleet and the company is trying to sell the FAA on the idea that its research would ultimately benefit consumers by offering “enormous consumer benefits by delivering packages to customers in 30 minutes or less.”
“One day, seeing Amazon Prime Air will be as normal as seeing mail trucks on the road today, resulting in enormous benefits for consumers across the nation,” the company says in its letter. “We respectfully submit this petition for exemption so that Prime Air can be ready to launch commercial operations as soon as eventually permitted by subsequent FAA action.”