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3 accused of selling fake cancer and HIV medicine

By Compiled from Times wires
Published May 22, 2003

MIAMI - Three men were charged Wednesday with selling and distributing fake versions of a drug used by cancer and HIV patients to fight anemia, federal officials said.

Undercover agents purchased counterfeit versions of the drug Procrit in January and February from the men, who intended to distribute the drug for sale, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

The fake Procrit consisted of bacteria-tainted water that contained no medication and actually posed a risk of infection in seriously weakened patients, the office said.

U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman Matthew Dates said authorities think they intercepted all the fake drugs before any could reach the public.

Eddy Gorin, William Chavez and Duviel Gonzalez, who were released on bail Wednesday, each face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Former state official Jim Smith faces surgery

TALLAHASSEE - Jim Smith, a former Florida attorney general who served as secretary of state after Katherine Harris' resignation last year, will have surgery for prostate cancer May 28 at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

Smith, who turns 63 Sunday, was diagnosed this spring. "When you catch this stuff early it's treatable," he said.

Smith was attorney general from 1979 to 1987 and secretary of state from 1987 to 1994. Last August he was pressed back into government service by Gov. Jeb Bush to oversee the first statewide elections since Florida's botched general election of 2000. Smith oversaw a generally smooth general election in November. He is now a lobbyist and trustee at Florida State University.

Man sentenced for driving pickup truck into mosque

TALLAHASSEE - A man who drove his pickup truck into a mosque and yelled threats against Muslims has been sentenced to 27 months in federal prison.

Charles D. Franklin, 41, of Tallahassee, will also pay $63,668 in restitution to the Islamic Center Mosque in Tallahassee.

Franklin pleaded guilty to the hate crime in November. U.S. District Judge Stephan Mickle credited Franklin with 14 months he has served since being arrested.

"What I did was wrong," Franklin said at Monday's sentencing.

Franklin's attorney, Randy Murrell, said his client suffers from mental illness and had stopped taking his medications in the days before the incident.

No one was hurt in the March 2002 crash, which occurred 30 minutes before evening prayers.

[Last modified May 22, 2003, 01:30:54]

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