Eleven people have been charged in an alleged conspiracy to distribute millions of counterfeit 5-Hour Energy drinks, officials said Friday.
The defendants are accused of attempting to sell a fake version of the liquid supplement produced with unregulated ingredients at an unsanitary facility, according to an indictment from the U.S. attorney's office for the Northern District of California. They are alleged to have ordered more than 7 million label sleeves and bottle caps with the trademarked 5-Hour Energy logo.
Living Essentials owns the trademarks and copyright for 5-Hour Energy. Two defendants, Joseph Shayota and Adriana Shayota, through their company Baja Exporting LLC, had a deal with Living Essentials to distribute 5-Hour Energy in Mexico.
After receiving the genuine product and Spanish-language packaging, they are alleged to have repackaged more than 350,000 5-Hour Energy branded bottles to sell them in the United States at a 15 percent discount in 2011.
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The wider counterfeit production started soon after.
Eleven people face charges including conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods, commit criminal copyright infringement and introduce misbranded food into interstate commerce.
Ten of the defendants have been arrested so far.
Representatives for Baja Exporting or the Shayotas could not immediately be reached.
Living Essentials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.