California man to plead guilty to selling unapproved diet drug in RI

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A California man is expected to plead guilty to selling an unapproved drug in Rhode Island and marketing it as an extreme weight loss drug.

According to federal court documents, Adam Alden sold dinitrophenol – also known as DNP – between August 2013 and January 2014 to customers throughout the country.

One of his customers – a Rhode Islander – died after ingesting DNP. Court records show the unidentified Rhode Island resident purchased the drug from Alden and other sources – so it couldn’t be “established beyond a reasonable doubt whether or not the DNP sold by the defendant caused the customer’s death.”

Though prosecutors couldn’t link Alden’s drug to the resident’s death – the 29-year-old did agree to plead guilty to one misdemeanor count of “introduction of an unapproved new drug into interstate commerce.”

The plea was expected to happen Thursday in California Federal Court – where the case was transferred – but was continued until May 6.

Under the plea agreement, prosecutors are recommending three years probation.

Call 12 For Action reached out to the Food and Drug Administration to learn more about the drug. A spokesperson for the agency said several deaths were linked to DNP in the 1930s – and the FDA determined that DNP was “extremely dangers and not fit for human consumption.”

Now, DNP is used as a pesticide and as raw material for explosives – but it’s still being sold online as a body building and diet drug.

Less than a year ago, Interpol issued a global alert about DNP to raise awareness about its dangers, saying:

“Besides the intrinsic dangers of DNP, the risks associated with its use are magnified by illegal manufacturing conditions.”

DNP is usually sold in yellow powder or capsule form. It’s also sold as a cream.

A spokesperson from the FDA tells Eyewitness News the agency recommends that people consult with their doctors before using any type of dietary supplements.

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