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Riverside County DA Announces Crackdown On Counterfeit Medicine

RIVERSIDE (CBSLA)  -- Riverside County on Tuesday announced a big crackdown on counterfeit medicines.

Four businesses and one home were raided, said Mike Hestrin, Riverside County DA.

He said, "Just under 10,000 dosages of various drugs were seized; five criminal cases have been filed."

"We are humble; we're not trying to do anything illegal," said Veronica Caloga of Budget King.

KCAL9's Nicole Comstock had video of a raid at Budget King, also known as Carniceria el Rey.

Caloga said her family business has been operating at the location in good faith for 51 years.

"We don't have anybody outside going to Mexico and bringing us anything under the counter. Nothing like that. We have two legitimate distributors we go through," Caloga said.

Because of that, she says her parents didn't know some of the medicines investigators say they had behind their meat counter could be dangerous or mislabeled.

They face misdemeanor charges. But the DA's office says a Moreno Valley store faces a felony charge for reportedly injecting customers without a license.

"So frustrated that I, like, had been duped on this," said Ali Schroer.

She said she found out the hard way that misbranded or illicit pharmaceuticals were sold at the shop and online.

Schroer said a doctor she trusted told her to buy allergy medicine from a Canadian website, and it made her sick for six months.

"Migraines for the first time, a lot of headaches, body aches," Schroer says.

John Hertig with Purdue University says about 98 percent of pharmaceuticals sold online are illegal and/or potentially dangerous.

"It can have chalk dust, they can have poisons, they can have antifreeze, which is actually a sweetener," Hertig says.

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