The Latest: Judge: FedEx 'factually innocent' in drug case

SAN FRANCISCO – The Latest on prosecutors’ decision to drop drug trafficking charges against FedEx (all times local):

5 p.m.

The judge overseeing the criminal trial of FedEx on charges it knowingly shipped illegal prescription drugs said the company was factually innocent.

U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer made the comments in court on Friday before dismissing all charges against the shipping giant at the request of prosecutors. Breyer said FedEx had repeatedly asked the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to give it the names of customers that were shipping illegal drugs, but the agency was either unwilling or unable to do so.

Prosecutors claimed Memphis, Tennessee-based FedEx began conspiring with two internet pharmacy organizations in the early 2000s to ship powerful sleep aids, sedatives, painkillers and other drugs to customers who had not been physically examined by a doctor.

They decided to drop the charges just days into the criminal trial. FedEx attorney Cristina Arguedas said the company did not reach any monetary settlement with the government in exchange for ending the case.


2:30 p.m.

Federal prosecutors have dropped their nearly two-year long criminal case against FedEx alleging the shipping giant knowingly delivered illegal prescription drugs from pill mills to dealers and addicts, some of whom died.

U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer in San Francisco dismissed the charges on Friday at the request of prosecutors.

The judge’s two-page order did not indicate why prosecutors had decided to drop the case just days after a trial began.

FedEx attorneys had said before the trial that two Drug Enforcement Administration officials who regularly talked to the company were willing to testify that they never told FedEx to stop shipping for any online pharmacies.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office confirmed in a statement that it had asked Breyer to dismiss the indictment but also did not say why.

FedEx spokesman Patrick Fitzgerald said in a statement the company has always been innocent and the case should never have been brought.