SHREVEPORT, Louisiana – A longtime former Claiborne Parish police officer who bought male enhancement drugs overseas, then branded and sold them under his own labels, escaped jail time Friday afternoon and will instead be under three years of supervised probation.
U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Foote ruled William Earl Maddox’s sentence lenient because of his age, 73, and his state of health. She also noted that now as a convicted felon, Maddox has lost his status in the community.
Under federal sentencing guidelines, Maddox could face a prison term of 12 to 18 months.
Maddox pleaded guilty in August following his indictment last fall on a felony charge of misbranding a drug while it was held for sale after shipment in interstate commerce. It was count 5 of the indictment. The remaining charges were dismissed in the plea deal with the government.
The plea further included the confiscation of property Maddox owns on Main Street from Homer. It is valued at $ 85,000 and Maddox owes the government $ 50,000 when it is sold.
Foote also ordered Maddox to pay a fine of $ 5,000.
Maddox started selling capsules called âSex Assuranceâ on two websites. He described them as a “natural male enhancement solution”. In 2017, U.S. Customs and Border Protection intercepted a package shipped from Hong Kong and addressed to Maddox at her home in Homer.
The package was inspected and found to contain 2,000 unlabeled green capsules in blister packs. The FDA got involved and informed Maddox that the package had been intercepted for non-compliance with the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. He was told he had the right to answer, but he did not.
Then, in 2018, FDA agents purchased two packs of Sex Assurance from the Maddox website. The capsules were labeled as “natural herbs,” but a criminal lab test indicated a positive test for sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra. The packages did not mention sildenafil as an ingredient or any information that could identify the manufacturer, packager or distributor.
In 2019, agents searched Maddox’s home and found thousands of green blistered capsules, Sex Assurance labels, packaged Sex Assurance capsules, a computer and other items suggesting that Maddox packaged the product from his home. . He was not a licensed practitioner.
The government has said that mislabelled drugs disguised as dietary supplements can pose serious health risks to those who buy and use them.
Maddox, who appeared before Foote at 3:30 p.m. Friday via Zoom from the office of his lawyer Nichole Buckle, told the court he was sorry for what had happened and had no intention of to harm no one.
âI hate being in front of you today. I hate to be in this situation. It was my intention to harm anyone. â¦ I’m so sorry for all of this. If I had to do it again, I would never do this at all, “Maddox said, adding,” I’m sorry I put someone, including myself, in danger. I want to put this behind me and take responsibility for it. “
An expression of remorse was something Foote was looking for. She said a number of letters had been submitted on Maddox’s behalf by family, friends and business associates. Maddox also submitted his own letter in which he listed his accomplishments, community involvement and charities. But Foote asked if Maddox was sorry for being caught or for breaking the law.
Additionally, Maddox even submitted a letter from a pharmacist saying that nothing in the pills prohibits their sale as natural supplements. This showed that Maddox had “not quite accepted responsibility for what had been done in this matter,” Foote said.
Buckle said the pharmacist’s letter was not presented as a way for Maddox to escape guilt, but to provide information to counter the government’s claim that the pills could cause bodily harm or death. dead. Maddox has been taking the same pills for years, she said.
âHe’s not shying away from his responsibility,â Buckle said.
Assistant US Attorney Jessica Cassidy pointed out that Maddox was an elected police officer who was sworn in to his community. And even after being informed by the FDA of the illegal sale of his capsules, he still continued to do so, “which is contrary to what an elected official should do.”
âIn this case, not only did Mr. Maddox know it was not in the best interests of his clients, but he kept moving forward,â Cassidy said.
Cassidy said the government supports the range of sentences from 12 to 18 months.
Buckle said Maddox had a complex medical history, including daily medication for COPD. She also said his age and condition put him at high risk for COVID-19 infection even if he was vaccinated. She asked for probation or house arrest.
“He’s now a convicted felon instead of someone people admire,” Foote said as one of the reasons she favors leniency.