Once in a while we have discussions of chemical suppliers around here – but we haven’t had one like this. On Friday afternoon, word came out that Ark Pharm, a reasonably well-known firm out of Chicago, had been raided by the DEA. That becomes abundantly clear if you try to access the company’s web site. I’ve ordered compounds from these folks over the years, and I’ll bet that a good number of readers here have as well. The company was particularly noted for low prices, albeit with (so I’ve heard) an occasionally idiosyncratic approach to customer service, although I never had any problems myself.
But if you have an open order with them for something, I think it’s time to search for an alternate source. The owner of the company was arrested after getting off a plane from China and charged with conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, and their warehouse was raided as well. One problem is that they were selling a variety of controlled substances (for research use only, naturally) without any of the require licensing to handle these materials. How does one even import these things as a business without such paperwork? Well, the article also says that the authorities started investigating the company when a number of shipments of plastic labware destined for Ark Pharm were seized when they turned out to also have illegal drugs inside them as well. Update: via the comments section, here is the criminal complaint that goes into details on this.
Yeah, that’ll do it.That Chicago Tribune article says that the company made nearly 30,000 shipments out of its facility during 2016, and probably leaves its readers with the impression that all of this was fentanyl et al. But that’s definitely not the case – the company had a large legitimate catalog of reagents, reference compounds, and intermediates. But apparently selling heterocycles, amines, and boronic acids wasn’t quite profitable enough, so they were heading into the higher-margin end of the chemical supply business. Bad move.