Man pleads guilty to smuggling and misbranding dangerous supplements
A man accused of smuggling illegal bodybuilding supplements from China, mislabeling them and selling them in the Rio Grande Valley pleaded guilty on Thursday.
Robert Lance Schuffert owned a business that sold mislabeled products unfit for human consumption to local retailers, depending on the criminal information filed in court.
Schuffert appeared Thursday morning before U.S. District Judge Randy Crane and pleaded guilty after reaching a settlement with the government.
Schuffert confessed to selling Ostarine MK-2866, a product containing SARMs (selective androgen receptor modulators) which is a synthetic chemical that mimics the effects of testosterone and other anabolic steroids.
The product has been marketed to help increase lean muscle mass and lose unwanted fat.
The use of SARMs can have fatal consequences. The United States Food and Drug Administration has released a public safety alert in 2017 warning against ingesting products containing SARMs which were linked to life-threatening reactions like liver toxicity and increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
Schuffert said he smuggled the product in from China and that, to avoid FDA scrutiny, the product was mislabeled as “for lab rats only” and “only for research purposes”. When it was sold to local retailers, it was then marketed with instructions for use, guaranteed results and claimed to be “pharmaceutical grade”.
An unnamed business owner responsible for a retailer of workout supplements in the valley has also been involved in the sales, but their details have not yet been released.
As part of a plea dealSchuffert agreed to forfeit $20,000 from the government and received a recommendation for a lower sentence.
Crane has scheduled the sentencing hearing for early May.
In a similar program last year, owner of a sports supplement company in North Carolina was sentenced to serve a year in federal prison after pleading guilty to similar charges.