Authorities in the United States have seized nearly 1 million medical masks and gloves that were hoarded by price gougers.
The FBI are to redistribute the masks and gloves to frontline healthcare workers in New Jersey and New York.
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) confirmed the haul of personal protective equipment (PPE) on April 2, 2020.
The latest haul is followed by a March 30, 2020, operation that was carried out by the Hoarding and Price Gouging Task Force, which is being handled by the FBI.
The FBI alerted HHS to the load and immediately ordered it to be re-purposed under the Defense Production Act (DPA).
The long haul will be donated to the New York and New Jersey healthcare departments to help continue tackling the outbreak.
Authorities said that they will be sending out 598,000 medical-grade gloves, 192,000 N95 respirator masks, 130,000 surgical masks, surgical gowns, disinfectant towels, particulate filters and bottles of hand sanitizer and spray disinfectant to healthcare departments.
Alex Azar, the Secretary of Department of Health and Human Services, said, “Cracking down on the hoarding of vital supplies allows us to distribute this material to the heroic healthcare workers on the frontlines who are most in need.”
Azar added, “Thanks to the quick work of the White House, the Department of Justice, and HHS, the seized resources were distributed in days to the doctors, nurses and first responders who need them.”
Authorities did not release the identity of the price gouger or where he was from.
The HHS is set to pay the owner of the hoarded equipment after the seizure at the pre-COVID-19 fair market value.
Across the United States of America, there have been over 255,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus.
On a global scale, the numbers have passed the 1 million mark.
Due to the increasing numbers of confirmed cases, authorities are imposing lockdowns all over the world so the numbers could be stopped from increasing.
Peter Navarro, the DPA Policy Coordinator, talked about people hoarding medical equipment.
Navarro said, “Our FBI agents and other law enforcement agencies are tracking down every tip and lead they get, and are devoting massive federal resources to this effort.”
He added, “All individuals and companies hoarding any of these critical supplies, or selling them at well above market prices, are hereby warned they should turn them over to local authorities or the federal government now or risk prompt seizure by the federal government.”
William P. Barr, an Attorney General, said people that are hoarding medical equipment so that they can sell them at a higher price will be facing legal charges and they can “expect a knock” on their doors.