DEA pulls off widespread busts of steroid labs

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    DEA pulls off widespread busts of steroid labs


    ESPN - DEA pulls off biggest crackdown of steroid labs - ESPN

    Updated: September 24, 2007
    China's Black Market for HGHNEW YORK -- In a four-day series of daylight raids that ended Sunday, Drug Enforcement Administration agents shut down 26 underground steroid labs and made more than 50 arrests across the country, capping what agents are calling the largest performance-enhancing drug crackdown in U.S. history. The DEA also has identified 37 Chinese factories that purportedly supplied the raw materials for the labs, a DEA spokesman told ESPN.


    The raids capped an 18-month probe that has netted a total of 124 arrests in 27 states and closed 56 labs. The agency also seized $6.5 million and 532 pounds of raw steroid powder -- 308 pounds of it in the past week. Most of the raids took place in quiet suburban neighborhoods.

    The investigation also focused on message boards where advice is traded about obtaining raw materials, as well as on the Web sites that help the labs sell finished products to the public. Hundreds of thousands of e-mails were intercepted, according to Dan Simmons, a San Diego-based special agent for the DEA. Simmons said that no professional athletes have been implicated so far but that the e-mails are being compiled into a massive database of names and are being analyzed.

    Courtesy of DEA

    In this storage locker on Long Island, DEA agents discovered trash cans and bins full of illegal performance-enhancing drugs.
    "I don't think we even know what we have yet," he said. "There's no part of the country that wasn't impacted by this."

    The crackdown, dubbed "Raw Deal," grew out of a 2005 operation targeting eight Mexican labs that were responsible for 80 percent of America's underground steroid trade. Several large Chinese factories had been supplying the Mexican labs. When the Mexican labs were closed in what came to be known as "Operation Gear Grinder," those Chinese factories redirected their pipeline to the U.S.

    "We came to find that 99.9 percent of the steroids in the U.S. were coming from China," Simmons said.

    Drug agents in Mexico, Belgium, Germany, Denmark and Thailand cooperated in the Raw Deal probe, setting up shell companies to order the raw materials. They also focused on the makers of kits that help underground drugmakers turn raw materials into sellable drugs.

    "This wasn't us going after one organization," said Rusty Payne, a DEA spokesman in Washington, D.C. "We went after lots of little cells. There's no one ringleader."

    In Westbury, N.Y., the DEA raided the home of an unidentified 38-year-old resident who had boxes of Chinese steroid powder stacked in his garage beside a shiny white Corvette. Agents carted away an estimated 800,000 doses of steroids from the Long Island home, which was described as newly renovated with flat-screen TVs in every room. A lab in the Midwest was so coated with steroid powder that agents said they created footprints in the living room when they entered.

    "We want 17-year-olds to know that the stuff they're buying on the Internet isn't what they think," Payne said. "A lot of the time, what they're putting in their body has been mixed in someone's dirty kitchen sink."

    In a tragic turn, the subject of another raid in the New York area committed suicide last week after being arraigned on charges of conspiracy and money laundering, according to a law enforcement source familiar with the death. No further information was immediately available.

    Courtesy of DEA

    Agents take away an unidentified suspect charged with running an underground steroid lab in New York.
    It is unclear what impact the case will have in China, where the Chinese government is preparing for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Already reeling from a series of food and drug scandals that led to the execution of the head of its state Food and Drug Administration earlier this year, the government has promised the cleanest Olympic Games in history. But it is also keenly aware that performance-enhancing drugs are a source of great profit. The World Anti-Doping Administration estimates that Chinese factories are responsible for as much as 70-80 percent of a $600 million black market in human growth hormone, or up to $480 million worldwide, annually.

    Simmons said he and other agents traveled to Beijing to brief their Chinese counterparts in February and handed over information on 10 labs. Since then, he said, the DEA has received information about only one of those 10 being closed. The government reportedly has floated several reform proposals, including banning steroids in pharmacies around Beijing and lowering export quotas to stem the flow of steroids and HGH. But so far, no definitive steps appear to have been taken.

    "We're keeping the Chinese in the loop and asking them to do the same," Simmons said.

    The DEA is particularly eager to stem the flow of Chinese HGH, which is not approved for sale in the U.S. by the Food and Drug Administration. Because it often sells illegally for one-third the price of approved brands, Chinese-made growth hormone is proving irresistible for anti-aging clinics and pharmacies that specialize in making generic drugs.

    Courtesy of DEA

    Among the items seized in a Long Island raid is this box, thought to contain raw steroid powder sent from China.
    In a separate probe, the Albany, N.Y., district attorney has indicted more than two dozen doctors and pharmacists for running bogus prescription mills for HGH and, in so doing, has helped reveal the widespread use of HGH in sports. St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Rick Ankiel and New England Patriots defensive back Rodney Harrison are among those who have acknowledged getting prescriptions from the main pharmacy in the Albany case, Signature of Orlando. Ankiel insists he received a legitimate prescription while rehabbing from elbow surgery in 2004.

    Albany prosecutors have met with officials from Major League Baseball and the NFL, and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has remarked that he has no reason to believe any other player will be linked to HGH. But the existence of a separate, and much larger, roster of names in Operation Raw Deal is certain to create a new round of concern.

    Simmons said the DEA intends to share the Raw Deal names with other law enforcement agencies and Congress. He also said the agency expects to be making arrests based on the evidence for months, if not years.

    "In Gear Grinder, we didn't target the end user," he said. "Now, we have investigative leads everywhere."

    News conferences about the operation are scheduled for Monday in Kansas City, Mo.; Providence, R.I.; San Diego; Houston; and New York.

    Shaun Assael is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine. He is also the co-author of "Sex, Lies, and Headlocks: The Real Story of Vince McMahon and World Wrestling Entertainment," which is available here. His second book, "Steroid Nation," will be released in October.

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    thanks for the post YR.

    makes me wonder about sources on the web that could actually be DEA run. With what seems like a remerge of powders after the drought makes me think DEA could be supplyin the powders and busting labs.
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    I feel so much safer now. Thanks DEA, I can rest assured that no roid-crazed people are going to commit a home invasion and rape/kill my family.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dsade View Post
    I feel so much safer now. Thanks DEA, I can rest assured that no roid-crazed people are going to commit a home invasion and rape/kill my family.
    Yea no kidding. I love the fact we have broken up these rings while my brother, whos a sophomore with a class size less than 275, knows and has seen anywhere between 30-40 kids in his grade use cocaine, meth, and heroin on a regular basis. Thanks DEA, keep up the good work
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    U.S. Government is hard at work! Taking down non-violent "drug" offenders one criminal at a time!
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    You guys need to take a step back and look at it from a different point of view. 1st how can anybody say they are non violent offenders, their have been a lot of busts and if you find more articles of the busts you see that some of these labs the guy have guns and other rec drugs too. 2nd look at the guy being taken away in cuffs does he look like a guy that is in the business to help people get big. 3rd look at the picture of the storage locker, anybody here want to inject the stuff that come from that lab. 4th how many dealers for coke, meth, and other rec drugs post on over 20 differnet boards that are specificvaslly used for selling drugs. Anybody think the DEA was gonna let people just sell gear openly on the internet right under the deas nose.
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    Eh, I could care less.. the trick here is to listen to what was said.. "dea's watching internet boards"... that's enough for me to admit I've never done anything hormonal whatsoever, EVER.. and as far as I'm concerned, I never will, those things are BAD! lol...
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    I think the bigger problem that the DEA fails to look at is the "demand". As long as the demand for these substances, there will always be this ongoing persuit for these black market suppliers.

    My frustration like many others here is the fact that the powers that be are so hot on taking away choice from recreational users. At the end of the day, some way some how these users will find an avenue to get what they want regardless of how many laws are passed.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pistonpump View Post
    thanks for the post YR.

    makes me wonder about sources on the web that could actually be DEA run. With what seems like a remerge of powders after the drought makes me think DEA could be supplyin the powders and busting labs.
    damn im so used to yeahright posting these articles i thanked him lol.

    Ive had a run in with the DEA before......i was worried to say the least but i was honest (kinda) and nothing has come of it.
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    The agents and reps need to be honest with themselves....in all honesty, hormones are one of the substances out there that actually improve productivity and quality of life. It makes people stronger and encourages discipline.

    If indeed the well-being of the populace is the primary reason they are in the line of work they are in, they would let it go (other than busting up shady people with risky quality control practices, etc.). If they are nothing but hired thugs of the pharma and power hungry elite who want to weaken the populace, and this make them easier to control then that is on THEIR conscience.
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    dsade, the majority of people that work for enforcement agencies probably don't really believe in their cause. It's just like almost everyone else, they need a job to support their family, so they go after one that is relatively well-paying with good benefits.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AM07 View Post
    dsade, the majority of people that work for enforcement agencies probably don't really believe in their cause. It's just like almost everyone else, they need a job to support their family, so they go after one that is relatively well-paying with good benefits.
    Agreed.

    Its the politicians behind the movement who take advantage of the fears of ignorant soccer moms/dads and old people who are scared of young juiced up kids tearing their heads off from "roid rage" who are ultimately responsible for this. Oh, and the media BIG TIME for propagating the ridiculous myths about steroids and steroid users set by the politicians looking for a politically expedient route to popularity.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwyckemynd00 View Post
    Agreed.

    Its the politicians behind the movement who take advantage of the fears of ignorant soccer moms/dads and old people who are scared of young juiced up kids tearing their heads off from "roid rage" who are ultimately responsible for this. Oh, and the media BIG TIME for propagating the ridiculous myths about steroids and steroid users set by the politicians looking for a politically expedient route to popularity.
    I feel like we live in a socialistic communist nation... we hear what our government wants us to hear.. and that's that.. Propaganda runs our nation... the lying bastards!
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    Quote Originally Posted by AM07 View Post
    dsade, the majority of people that work for enforcement agencies probably don't really believe in their cause. It's just like almost everyone else, they need a job to support their family, so they go after one that is relatively well-paying with good benefits.
    I agree with you there, and I was mostly speaking to anyone if they might be "watching the boards" (which I highly doubt politicians are).

    There are so many ways to nullify unjust laws...and I agree that while the agents need to feed their families (I have actually spoken to a couple of them when I was in the military, and they seem to understand the dilemma they are in), they also need to be able to be proud of what they do.

    I have no problem with substandard, dangerous labs that also deal in other illicit substances being taken out.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RisingAgainst View Post
    I feel like we live in a socialistic communist nation... we hear what our government wants us to hear.. and that's that.. Propaganda runs our nation... the lying bastards!
    Yeah, it is feeling that way for me, too.

    If you're ever up for a good read (or audio book like I used ) read Michael Chricton's State of Fear. The book largely deals w/ global warming but the message is mean to be universal.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwyckemynd00 View Post
    Yeah, it is feeling that way for me, too.

    If you're ever up for a good read (or audio book like I used ) read Michael Chricton's State of Fear. The book largely deals w/ global warming but the message is mean to be universal.
    I've read it!!! haha Ever read some other books that are ever so slightly based on real world (ie clancy/piezchnec(sp?))?
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    Quote Originally Posted by RisingAgainst View Post
    I've read it!!! haha Ever read some other books that are ever so slightly based on real world (ie clancy/piezchnec(sp?))?
    Good book, eh?

    No, I really don't read. If there is an audio-book version of a book and it sounds good I'll definitely listen, but other than that I can't bring myself to sit and read.
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    From the NY Times, this is the scary part:
    The investigation, authorities said, was focused on many United States-based Web sites that sold “conversion kits,” which could be used to convert raw steroid powders into a finished product. Investigators also targeted Internet discussion boards where users learned “how to illicitly use, locate and discreetly purchase performance enhancing drugs, including anabolic steroids. Many of the underground steroids labs targeted in this case advertise and are endorsed on these message boards.”

    I wouldn't be surprised if these douchebags have miltiple accounts and are regular posters.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwyckemynd00 View Post
    Good book, eh?

    No, I really don't read. If there is an audio-book version of a book and it sounds good I'll definitely listen, but other than that I can't bring myself to sit and read.
    Ah, they did a series together and it was crazy how descriptive they were about todays government without stepping on toes.. But ya, good reads, I dunno if there's an audiobook available or not, I read em when I was younger.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redeemer View Post
    I wouldn't be surprised if these douchebags have miltiple accounts and are regular posters.
    You can bet on that 100%.

    Everyone knows they're there, but nobody can weed them out.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwyckemynd00 View Post
    You can bet on that 100%.

    Everyone knows they're there, but nobody can weed them out.
    so uhh Kwyck.. I hear you and Ms Gimpy are special agents... what tha FUK!??!?! hahahahah jk
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    Eh, glad theres not as much west coast as east coast.. Lol!
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    Quote Originally Posted by dsade View Post
    I feel so much safer now. Thanks DEA, I can rest assured that no roid-crazed people are going to commit a home invasion and rape/kill my family.
    Right on. Huge waste of time and resources.

    "Let them have steroids?! Are you insane???"
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    To catch a seller-off ESPN website


    Europa Sports Products is a familiar name in the supplements world. The Charlotte, N.C., wholesaler sponsors exhibits at bodybuilding shows like the Arnold Classic and stocks shelves in Gold's Gyms and GNC stores nationwide. But as a recent investigation by The Magazine found, it also keeps online pharmacies well-supplied with designer steroids.


    Acting on a tip, we posed as the founders of a new supplements company -- creating the website ProGymGear.com to back our ruse -- to see exactly what Europa offers. When we informed a sales rep by e-mail that we were "targeting the hard-core gym customer," he didn't ask for a business license -- or any other ID, for that matter. He went right into a pitch for Bulk Tabs, a product of Florida's IDS Sports. Explaining that the supplement is "highly androgenic," he wrote that it is made from "real-deal ingredients" and, with regard to drug tests, that it would "come out false."

    We paid $1,000 for four boxes of Bulk Tabs and two other IDS offerings: Mass Tabs and Sostonol. When we asked for something "similar to Superdrol," a drug whose sale the FDA prohibited in 2006, the rep suggested AnEvol, by Evolution Labs of Florida. "It is [the] identical formula to Superdrol," he wrote. "People are going to go ape s over this."

    The package arrived by regular mail to a post office box we'd set up, and we promptly sent off samples to Aegis Sciences, a Nashville lab that does the drug testing for the WWE. In a standard analysis for 11 known steroid compounds, everything tested negative.

    Was the stuff really drug-free or just able to fool a test, as advertised? That was a question for Don Catlin, the head of LA's Anti-Doping Research Institute. Catlin's deeper analysis showed that one of Sostonol's many-lettered ingredients is chemical code for Madol, a powerful designer steroid originally developed by BALCO chemist Patrick Arnold. Another, Oral Turinabol, was a favorite of the old East German machine. "This wasn't done by someone with a high school degree," Catlin concluded. "Whoever made it knew what he was doing." An industry source to whom the label was shown went even further: "No one is making this stuff in the U.S. The only place you can get it is China."

    In fact, the owner of IDS, Nicol Worrell, did acknowledge in a phone interview that some of his ingredients come from China. But when asked specifically about Sostonol, he retreated, calling it "a small part of our business," before deferring to the manufacturing plant he claimed to contract with. "They handle all of our ingredients," he said.

    Europa's salesman was as good as his word about AnEvol, though. Catlin found it to be directly related to Superdrol and to contain the prohibited synthetic steroid methasterone. A letter from us asking for comment -- sent by FedEx -- to the manufacturer's address on the box went unreturned.

    Eric Hillman, Europa's CEO, didn't return a message seeking comment about our findings either. But he might be happy to know his reps are on top of things. Our contact continues to e-mail us about placing our next order.

    -- Shaun Assael
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    Quote Originally Posted by RisingAgainst View Post
    Eh, glad theres not as much west coast as east coast.. Lol!
    west coast customs is much more strict than east coast, hence most powder guys wouldn't ship west coast so most labs were on the east coast.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RisingAgainst View Post
    so uhh Kwyck.. I hear you and Ms Gimpy are special agents... what tha FUK!??!?! hahahahah jk
    Not quite a special agent, but I'm real good with gettin' in the back door
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwyckemynd00 View Post
    Not quite a special agent, but I'm real good with gettin' in the back door
    I used to be... been on a dry streak lately


    And Wow @ the europa post... this is bad news for me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RisingAgainst View Post
    And Wow @ the europa post... this is bad news for me.
    Yea alot of independent supp shops do their ordering thru them. I'll have to give my rep a call
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    Quote Originally Posted by Distilled Water View Post
    Yea alot of independent supp shops do their ordering thru them. I'll have to give my rep a call
    Not JUST that.. but w/e... I guess... I'm upset lol
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    Yea I hear ya, that's s h i t t y for the whole industry. And yea Im with you
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redeemer View Post
    From the NY Times, this is the scary part:
    The investigation, authorities said, was focused on many United States-based Web sites that sold “conversion kits,” which could be used to convert raw steroid powders into a finished product. Investigators also targeted Internet discussion boards where users learned “how to illicitly use, locate and discreetly purchase performance enhancing drugs, including anabolic steroids. Many of the underground steroids labs targeted in this case advertise and are endorsed on these message boards.”

    I wouldn't be surprised if these douchebags have miltiple accounts and are regular posters.
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    Quote Originally Posted by xjsynx View Post
    You're one of them! GET HIM! :bruce1: LOL!
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    Quote Originally Posted by RisingAgainst View Post
    You're one of them! GET HIM! :bruce1: LOL!
    I feel like Jack Bauer.

    Just don't make take anything to prove I am not a snitch...
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    Quote Originally Posted by xjsynx View Post
    I feel like Jack Bauer.

    Just don't make take anything to prove I am not a snitch...
    LOL!!! we'll torture you til you tell us what we wanna hear
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    Quote Originally Posted by aspire210 View Post
    west coast customs is much more strict than east coast, hence most powder guys wouldn't ship west coast so most labs were on the east coast.
    Stay the hell away from Alaskan customs (coming in from west coast).

    That is all I am going to say about it.
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    this entire ****ing situation absolutely disgusts me

    i hope these DEA pricks are patting themselves on the ****ing back for doing such a great service to america. i like how they pointed out the 17 year old kids. only 17 year old kids are buying these steroids? these dip****s have got to be kidding me. i hope the people responsible for this burn in hell for unnecessarily ruining peoples' lives in order to justify their pathetic and unsuccessful jobs.

    11.4 million doses of steroids. federal dosing designates .5ml as one dose (****ing BS). so 11.4 million doses is about 570,000 10ml vials of steroids. who the **** do they think is taking all of that gear?????

    17 year olds and nfl players? do these ***gots realize how stupid they are? there are simply no words to cover all the ways in which i think this is wrong, not to mention they are purposely posing themselves as steroid dealers INTENTIONALLY TO SUSTAIN DEMAND AND ENTRAP BODYBUILDERS.

    wake up *******s, 17 year olds are not using hgh and steroids from steroid boards. find me a ****ing 17 year old that can find this information, send out a western union payment, maintain a private email account, purchase needles, construct a cycle, and give himself an injection while at the same time keeping it hidden from his parents and friends. yea i hope that puts it in perspective.

    these DEA agents are ****ing over 20 and 30 something successful and motivated people conscientious about their bodies. christ, from what i can tell most of us are ****ing IT people.
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    You're right Jomi.. but the media says it's bad, and that NFL players, pro wrestlers, and other athletes and a ton of high schoolers are the only ones using this sh*t. So what can ya do? honestly. Petitions? ha they get laughed at, then they know who's using even more clearly.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RisingAgainst View Post
    You're right Jomi.. but the media says it's bad, and that NFL players, pro wrestlers, and other athletes and a ton of high schoolers are the only ones using this sh*t. So what can ya do? honestly. Petitions? ha they get laughed at, then they know who's using even more clearly.
    There is the problem right there.

    Ask most people about steroids and they will say they are bad. Ask why, and they will look at you and say, "uuuuh, because they are."
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