BAY CITY, MI — A Texas woman is facing federal charges in Michigan after allegedly selling a toxic diet pill online to residents in Saginaw and Washtenaw counties.
A grand jury on Oct. 7 indicted Judith Holloway on five counts of introduction of a new drug into interstate commerce and seven counts of introduction of a misbranded drug into interstate commerce. The former is punishable by up to three years in prison and a $10,000 fine, while the latter is punishable by up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine.
The indictment states Holloway obtained the drug DNP, also known as 2, 4-dinitrophenol, from suppliers and profited from its sale. The drug has never been approved as safe for human consumption, is highly toxic, and may cause adverse health effects such as dehydration, cataracts, liver damage, and death, the indictment states.
DNP was an industrial chemical used in herbicides, dyes, wood preservers, and explosives. It is improperly used as a weight loss drug or diet pill.
In 1938, the Food and Drug Administration declared the drug to be extremely dangerous.
According to the affidavit, Holloway ran a website and used eBay to sell DNP, which she falsely labeled as a “pigment powder.” When eBay removed her listings for violations, Holloway relisted the drug as for sale under the same false label, the affidavit states.
Holloway sent the pills to her buyers through the mail system, the affidavit states.
The sales began as early as October 2018, the affidavit states. At least some of her customers were in Saginaw and Washtenaw counties, court records state.
Holloway on Dec. 17 appeared remotely from Texas before U.S. District Magistrate Judge Kimberly G. Altman in Michigan. Altman granted Holloway a $10,000 unsecured bond and said she would be supervised out of Fort Worth.
Holloway is represented by attorney Fabian Renteria Franco of the Federal Community Defender Office in Detroit. The Bay City Times-MLive could not immediately reach him for comment.
Holloway’s trial before U.S. District Judge Thomas L. Ludington in Bay City is set for April 20, with a plea cutoff date of March 30.
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