Drug trafficking allegations against FedEx head to trial

courtroom generic

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – The U.S. government and FedEx are set to do battle in federal court in San Francisco over the explosive claim that the shipping company knowingly delivered illegal prescription drugs such as Ambien from pill mills to dealers and addicts, some of whom died.

FedEx has denied the charges and says it only shipped what it believed were legal drugs from licensed pharmacies. Opening statements are scheduled to start Monday.

The trial is unusual both for the government’s decision to bring drug charges against a package delivery company and for the lack of a settlement. Rival UPS Inc. paid $40 million in 2013 to resolve similar allegations that arose from a yearslong government crackdown on Internet pharmacies that ship drugs to customers without valid prescriptions.

The stakes are high for Memphis, Tennessee-based FedEx. Though no FedEx officials are facing prison time, the charges carry a potential fine of $1.6 billion.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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