FORTUNE -- Already under scrutiny about the safety of its products, the manufacturer of 5-Hour Energy drinks has uncovered and is shutting down an illegal counterfeiting network that flooded the nation with millions of bottles of fake versions of the high caffeine energy drink.
Every week, Living Essentials sells more than nine million genuine bottles of the over-the-counter 5-Hour Energy drinks through more than 100,000 retail outlets in the United States. The company insists its products are not harmful, although the New York Times reported last week that 13 deaths in the last four years, allegedly linked to the drink, are being investigated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Court documents unsealed Monday reveal that the company, which says its sales are more than $1 billion a year, has seized more than 1.8 million bottles of counterfeit products during raids secretly authorized in late October by U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto in Brooklyn, N.Y. and U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco, Calif.
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