- Associated Press - Friday, May 15, 2020

OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. (AP) - Federal agents seized more than 280,000 masks from a Mississippi pharmaceutical company last month under a law prohibiting the hoarding of in-demand equipment needed by health workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a recently unsealed search warrant.

FBI agents raided Gulf Coast Pharmaceuticals Plus LLC in Ocean Springs on April 17 and confiscated the supply of more than 6,500 N-95 respirator masks, as well as thousands of lab coats, face shields, gloves and more, The Sun Herald reported Friday, citing the warrant unsealed in U.S. District Court.

The company is owned by developer Kenneth Ritchey. His attorney, Erich Nichols, said they are working with the government in the investigation and that Ritchey has donated “hundreds, if not thousands of PPE” to two local health systems.

“I think the government will see he was not violating this regulation,” The Sun Herald quoted Nichols as saying.

No charges have been filed against Ritchey and most documents related to the case remain sealed, the newspaper said.


Follow AP coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.

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