Yahoo reports U.S. officials said on Thursday they would distribute a stockpile of personal protective equipment, including 192,000 N95 respirator masks, which they seized this week from an alleged hoarder.
The departments of Justice (DOJ) and Health and Human Services (HHS) said the equipment had been seized by a task force set up to crack down on coronavirus-related hoarding and price gouging.
The material included 130,000 surgical masks, 598,000 medical grade gloves, surgical gowns, disinfectant towels and bottles of hand sanitizer and spray disinfectant.
It will be distributed to health authorities in New York and New Jersey, the U.S. epicenter of a pandemic that has so far killed nearly 5,000 Americans.
Local officials have been scrambling to secure protective gear, which is in short supply. An emergency stockpile maintained by the U.S. government has been nearly exhausted.
Officials said they seized the supplies from Baruch Feldheim, a 43-year-old Brooklyn man arrested on March 30 for lying about his activity and coughing on FBI agents who questioned him.
Feldheim’s defense lawyer, James Moriarty, denied the charges and said his client had not yet entered a plea.
According to court documents, Feldheim offered to sell around 1,000 N95 masks and other materials to a New Jersey doctor for $12,000, which federal authorities said was approximately a 700 percent markup over the normal prices.