FedEx Hires Barry Bonds' Attorney For Drug Distribution Case

By McCarton Ackerman 07/30/14

Despite Bonds being convicted on obstruction, the delivery giant hopes that his high-profile lawyer can help them avoid hefty fines and prison for employees.

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Federal Express is pulling out all the stops in its court case over criminal allegations that they knowingly shipped package from illegal online pharmacies, hiring the same attorneys that represented former pro baseball player Barry Bonds.

Court records have confirmed that the company retained attorneys Cristina Arguedas and Allen Ruby for the case. FedEx was arraigned yesterday, but pleaded not guilty to 15 criminal counts that included conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. Two subsidiaries were also named as conspirators along with two separate internet pharmacies, the Chhabra-Smoley Organization and Superior Drugs.

The indictment, handed down by a grand jury in San Francisco, accused the company of devising policies to continue shipping illegal packages, despite senior managers at the company being repeatedly warned of the problem. It also alleged that FedEx not only delivered the packages to customers in vacant lots and abandoned homes from 2000-2010, despite couriers expressing concerns over their safety, but also continued to distribute prescription drugs from the two Internet pharmacies after the owners and associated medical professionals were convicted of illegally distributing drugs.

A spokesman for FedEx denied the charges, claiming that prosecutors cannot expect them to ensure the legality of the millions of packages per day that are shipped out. The spokesman said in a statement that “we are a transportation company. We are not law enforcement.”

Of course, hiring high-profile attorneys doesn’t always translate to a successful case. Arguedas represented Bonds in his 2011 trial, but he was convicted of one count of obstruction of justice in connection with a steroids investigation. Bonds was sentenced to 30 days of home confinement, but has yet to serve his sentence as the verdict is still under appeal.

If convicted, the defendants face up to five years in probation and a potential $820 million in fines, or double the profits earned by the illegal shipments.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.