Sheriff's Civilian Employee Accused of Selling Banned Obesity Drug

More than $1 million in bank account activity first alerted investigators

A civilian employee for the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department has pleaded not guilty to allegations he ran a very lucrative side business selling Sibutramine, a banned obesity drug.

Francisco Terriquez appeared before a federal judge Tuesday in downtown San Diego to face charges that include money laundering and drug possession with intent to distribute.

Terriquez makes approximately $40,000 a year in his prison job but yet, prosecutors claim he made over 700 bank deposits totaling $967,816 from July 2010 to August 2014.

When he was interviewed by FBI agents Monday at George Bailey Detention Facility, Terriquez allegedly admitted to selling dietary supplements and not reporting the income on his tax returns.

When the interview was over, agents claim Terriquez got into his car and drove toward the U.S.-Mexico border. That’s when they took him into custody.

According to the complaint, Terriquez had been under investigation since September 2014 when the FBI and the Sheriff’s Department were alerted to $1.7 million in suspicious transactions involving his personal accounts at Wells Fargo, Bank of America and J.P. Morgan Chase.

In February, investigators searched an Otay Mesa storage facility allegedly belonging to Terriquez and found hundreds of small vials labeled "Alcochofivida." The substance tested positive for sibutramine, according to the complaint.

The drug, formerly sold under the brand name Meridia, was voluntarilly pulled from the market in 2010 after the FDA determined it increased the risk of heart attack and stroke in patients. 

Terriquez also faces a charge of making a false statement in connection to an April interview with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection employee. Prosecutors allege the defendant denied having any income other than his sheriff’s civilian employee paycheck.

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