The presidents of two supermarkets in Lexington admitted that they conspired to smuggle unapproved prescription drugs into their stores to sell them.
Juan Cervantes, 42, and Manuel Hernandez, 48, pleaded guilty Tuesday to money laundering and conspiracy to smuggle goods. The corporations and their stores — Cervantes Discoteca Inc., which operates Super Mercado Aguascalientes No. 2 on New Circle Road, and AG Super Mercado, which operates Aguascalientes on Alexandria Drive — pleaded guilty to the same charges.
The corporations and the store presidents agreed to forfeit $650,000 combined, and the corporations together will pay approximately $100,000 in fines.
According to court documents, from 2006 until March 2011, the two stores made approximately $377,000 in cash selling the unapproved drugs.
The drugs were smuggled into California from Mexico and shipped to a Chicago company. Two co-defendants transported the drugs from Chicago to the stores in Lexington. Hernandez and Cervantes wrote checks to the company for the drugs.
During a four-year investigation authorities found that the drugs were not sold by licensed medical professionals, did not contain English instructions for consumption and were never approved for importation into the United States, and that the stores did not have Kentucky licenses to sell prescription drugs.
Sentencing for the defendants is scheduled for March of 2013. Cervantes and Hernandez face up to 20 years in prison.