Spanberger’s Bipartisan Bill Aims to Crack Down on Narcotics Traffickers

October 10, 2019 by Dan McCue
This desktop pill press can produce between 5,000 and 5,500 tablets per hour. (Screen grab via YouTube)

WASHINGTON – Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., has introduced a bipartisan, bicameral bill to deter narcotics traffickers from using illicit pill presses to manufacture counterfeit drugs.

Spanberger, a member of the bipartisan Freshman Working Group on Addiction, said as the opioid epidemic continues to impact communities across the country, drug traffickers have turned to counterfeit drug manufacturing as another strategy to profit from opioid abuse and addiction.

These molds can easily be purchased online, and they are often used to produce drugs designed to mimic legitimate pharmaceutical products. Currently, this practice is prohibited by law—but the penalty is not defined.

Spanberger’s Criminalizing Abused Substance Templates (CAST) Act would address this enforcement issue by modifying the Controlled Substances Act to clearly define the criminal penalty for making counterfeit drugs using a pill press.

Additionally, her legislation would stiffen penalties for those who use pill presses to create and distribute counterfeit drugs—including opioids.

A companion bill has been introduced in the Senate by Sens. William Cassidy, R-La., and Maggie Hassan, D-N.H. The House bill is co-sponsored by David Kustoff, R-Tenn.

“In Central Virginia and across the country, families, businesses, and entire communities continue to face immense challenges due to the opioid epidemic,” Spanberger said. “As this public health crisis grows, we also face the threat of extremely dangerous substances—such as fentanyl—being pressed into illicit pills and sold on our streets.”

“This bill—supported by Democrats and Republicans in both Houses of Congress—would help crack down on the production of counterfeit drugs via illicit pill press molds,” she continued. “By deterring drug traffickers and those who produce illicit drugs, we are taking another step in a multi-faceted approach in the fight against fentanyl—and I’ll keep working with my colleagues to prevent overdoses, increase access to wraparound treatment, and pave more pathways to long-term recovery.”

Spanberger’s CAST Act makes possession of a press mold with intent to counterfeit schedule I or II substances a crime within the Controlled Substances Act.

Additionally, the bipartisan legislation would increase by two levels the offense level of making or selling controlled substances in conjunction with possession of a pill press mold.

The CAST Act is supported by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators, and the Partnership for Safe Medicines.

The full text of the bill can be viewed here.

Crime

Congressional Resolution Supporting Asians Seeks to Protect Against COVID-19 Hate Crimes
Congress
Congressional Resolution Supporting Asians Seeks to Protect Against COVID-19 Hate Crimes
September 14, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- A congressional resolution that started Monday as a condemnation of hate crimes against Asians quickly turned into a dispute over who should be blamed for the devastation caused by coronavirus. Democrats blamed President Donald Trump for mishandling the U.S. response to the pandemic that... Read More

Gottheimer Seeks to Strengthen Protections Against Terrorist Activity on Social Media
Social Media
Gottheimer Seeks to Strengthen Protections Against Terrorist Activity on Social Media
September 10, 2020
by Daniel Londono

Rep. Josh Gottheimer wants to hold social media platforms accountable when terrorist organizations use their website portals to raise funds and spread propaganda. A proposal by the New Jersey Democrat, the Online Arsenal to Combat Foreign Terrorist Organizations, would fine Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social... Read More

Ex-Trump Adviser Steve Bannon Charged in Border Wall Scheme
In The News
Ex-Trump Adviser Steve Bannon Charged in Border Wall Scheme

NEW YORK (AP) — Former White House adviser Steve Bannon was arrested Thursday on charges that he and three others ripped off donors to an online fundraising scheme “We Build The Wall.” The charges were contained in an indictment unsealed in Manhattan federal court. Federal prosecutors... Read More

Judge Defines Bitcoin as Currency Under D.C. Money Laundering Law
Law
Judge Defines Bitcoin as Currency Under D.C. Money Laundering Law
August 3, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - A federal judge’s recent ruling gave prosecutors nationwide a new tool for pursuing money launderers by redefining bitcoin as a form of currency. The ruling was based on the prosecution of a man who tried to evade criminal charges after he allegedly transferred more... Read More

Feds Begin Prosecuting Fraudulent PPP Coronavirus Loans. Some Cases Will Be Hard to Win
Business
Feds Begin Prosecuting Fraudulent PPP Coronavirus Loans. Some Cases Will Be Hard to Win

WASHINGTON — One Los Angeles business owner allegedly went to Las Vegas and gambled away some of the $9 million he received in emergency government loans earmarked for his employees. A Texas man is accused of using his $1.5 million Paycheck Protection Program funds to pay... Read More

Trials of Parents in College Admissions Scam to Proceed in Groups, Judge Says
Education
Trials of Parents in College Admissions Scam to Proceed in Groups, Judge Says

Ten of the remaining parents charged with paying bribes to get their children into elite U.S. colleges will be tried in two groups, after a federal judge rejected their appeal for separate proceedings. “There is common and overlapping evidence” in the cases, and the parents will... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top