Is FedEx a drug trafficker? Federal prosecutors think so; yesterday they slapped the shipping company with a 15-count indictment, alleging that it knowingly shipped drugs for illegal online pharmacies, the Wall Street Journal reports. According to the indictment, FedEx even set up a special "Online Pharmacy Credit Policy" to ensure it kept getting paid if law enforcement shut these businesses down. "Many of these companies operate outside federal and state regulations over the sale of controlled drugs," the company told its managers in a memo explaining the policy.
Prosecutors say FedEx also knew that it was delivering to addicts—some of whom would allegedly stop trucks on the road to demand their pills, Bloomberg reports. In one case, when a customer's license was suspended, FedEx allegedly told it that service could continue, as long as the pharmacy increased its payments. If convicted, FedEx faces at least $1.6 billion in fines—or about twice the $820 million it allegedly made shipping the drugs. But FedEx is vigorously denying wrongdoing, saying that the government is unfairly asking it to inspect packages, and that it failed to provide a list of pharmacies to avoid. "We are a transportation company—we are not law enforcement," one executive says. (Read more FedEx stories.)