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DENISE LAVOIE

AP Legal Affairs Writer

BOSTON (AP) - An ex-employee of a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy that made tainted steroids blamed for the deaths of 64 people was arrested Thursday as he was about to board a flight for Hong Kong, federal officials said.

Glenn Adam Chin, a former supervisory pharmacist at the New England Compounding Center, was arrested at Logan International Airport, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

The pharmacy has been blamed for a nationwide outbreak of fungal meningitis, an inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord. About 750 people in 20 states developed fungal meningitis or other infections. Michigan, Tennessee and Indiana were hit the hardest.

Chin was charged with mail fraud, but prosecutors said it is part of a larger criminal investigation. He is the first person to be charged in the inquiry.

It was not immediately known whether Chin has an attorney. He was expected to appear in federal court Thursday afternoon.

The company, based in Framingham, just west of Boston, gave up its license and filed for bankruptcy protection after it was flooded with hundreds of lawsuits from people who received tainted steroid injections. Attorneys for its creditors late last year announced a preliminary settlement that would set up a victim compensation fund worth more than $100 million.

The contaminated medication was first discovered in September 2012 after people who received steroid injections for back pain became ill.

Inspectors found a host of potential contaminants at the company's Framingham plant, including standing water, mold, water droplets and dirty equipment. Fungus was found in more than 50 vials from the pharmacy.

Regulators said the company did not perform enough tests before sending the drugs to hospitals and clinics.

A federal grand jury in Boston has been investigating the center for the last two years. In recent months, FBI agents have interviewed victims and their families.

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