A local fitness club owner currently being probed by the Mounties for cross-border ephedrine shipments was warned about selling the product by the provincial pharmacy board more than six years ago.
Rob King of Heavyweights Fitness insisted in a recent interview with CBC News that he doesn’t think he has done anything wrong — and has never been told any differently.
"So for 10 years, I did not receive one notice," King said. "I did not receive one document. I did not receive anything saying that what I was doing was illegal."
But in October 2006, King did receive a notice from the Newfoundland and Labrador Pharmacy Board telling him he was breaking the rules.
The letter, written by registrar Don Rowe, warned that "ephedrine may be sold on a non-prescription basis (in restricted dosage and package size) for nasal decongestion, but only from a pharmacy licensed by the Newfoundland and Labrador Pharmacy Board."
The letter warned that the improper use of ephedrine was dangerous, with "serious, potentially fatal adverse effects."
It asked that King "immediately cease the sale of any products containing ephedrine."
King never mentioned that correspondence, or any other letter, during his interview with CBC News.
"If you can find me anything on a piece of paper that says I was doing something wrong, please show it to me," King said.
Private warning, public press release
Just days after the pharmacy board sent that private warning to King in 2006, it issued a public one.
A news release announced that the board "has sent notice to a local sport nutrition store" warning that the sale of ephedrine was restricted under the provincial Pharmacy Act and the Precursor Control Regulations of the federal Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
King evidently ignored those warnings and kept selling for another six years until the Mounties raided his businesses and his home last fall.
As CBC News reported on March 5, King is the target of an RCMP investigation for selling ephedrine without a licence and shipping it across the border to the United States.
He's also being investigated for money laundering and proceeds of crime.
The police have applied to the courts to keep records and other materials seized during raids on King’s home and business locations last fall.
There have been no charges laid against King or his company. He did not respond to interview requests sent through his lawyer.