Monthly Archives: March 2013

Sciroxx – Long-Arm of Steroid Law Enforcement Takes Interest

Two men involved in the domestic distribution of Sciroxx-brand anabolic steroids have pleaded guilty in the United States District Court in Providence. Edmond Paolucci and Patrick Cunningham admitted responsibility for importing bulk quantities of steroids and ancillary drugs, repackaging them in retail-size units with the Sciroxx label and shipping them to customers in the United States.

Paolucci received 650-milliliter jugs containing injectable testosterone enanthate, boldenone undecylenate and trenbolone acetate and bulk quantities of oral steroid tablets. He also received prescription ancillary drugs such as Pregnyl (hCG), T3, Arimidex (anastrozole), Teva tamoxifen and Serpafar clomiphene from Turkey and Bulgaria. The steroids were shipped to various postal boxes scattered throughout Rhode Island, Massachusets and Connecticut.

Paolucci and Cunningham maintained an underground laboratory where they repackaged the injectable and oral steroids into retail-sized units branded with the Sciroxx (and Xsorox) label. The oral steroid tablets were distributed in pouches while the injectable steroids were distributed in 10-milliliter vials.

Paolucci was responsible for fulfilling domestic internet orders made via websites that he and his Israeli con-conspirators owned and operated. Paolucci collected money from customers and sent the proceeds to Israel via Western Union and Moneygram using his own and fictitious names.

Western Union and Moneygram gave federal investigators detailed records of transactions totaling in excess of $76,000 sent by Paolucci to Israel.

Paolucci pleaded guilty to the following on November 1, 2012:

one count of conspiracy to distribute anabolic steroids (for working with Cunningham and unnamed Israeli co-conspirators);
one count of possession with intent to distribute anabolic steroids (for repackaging and remailing Sciroxx-brand steroids);
one count of distribution of a misbranded drug (for distributing non-controlled, non-FDA approved ancillary drugs imported from overseas e.g.as hCG, Clomid, Nolvadex, Arimidex, etc.); and
two counts of money laundering (for wiring proceeds to Israel via Western Union and Moneygram).

Paolucci and Cunningham were busted almost 18 months ago on November 15, 2011. Paolucci pleaded guilty almost five months ago. Cunningham pleaded guilty three days ago. The bust and subsequent plea agreements were not immediately announced to protect the confidentiality of an ongoing criminal investigation.

The scope of the ongoing investigation was not revealed. However, a press release by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Rhode Island indicated that the federal government worked closely with its international counterparts in Israel during the investigation of the Israeli-based international steroid distribution ring.

United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha and Mark Dragonetti, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigation, acknowledged the assistance of international counterparts at the Israel Ministry of Health, Division of Enforcement and Inspection, and Jerusalem Customs and VAT who provided significant assistance in the investigation of this matter.

The cooperation with Israeli law enforcement officials provides additional evidence that the long-arm of U.S. steroid law enforcement is becoming increasingly aggressive.

The U.S. government has shown it is more than willing to go after the biggest international sources around the world especially if they have domestic operations within the United States.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Food and Drug Administration Office of Criminal Investigations (FDA-OCI) have attempted to disrupt and extradite the major players in the underground steroid trade with varying degrees of success over the past several years.

In 2008, the U.S. government pressured Thailand to arrest Edwin Crawley and Ashley Livingston of British Dragon on steroid charges; they were subsequently extradited to the United States where they were convicted and incarcerated.
In 2010, the feds set up a covert operation with agents on the ground in Cyprus to assist in the arrest of the purported principals behind Musclebear (Euro Chem Labs). Oleksandr “Lsex” Skochyk and Yvgeniy “Eugene” Suray were extradited to the United States where they were convicted and incarcerated. A domestic remailer for Musclebear claimed that the real owner got away.
In 2011, U.S. law enforcement pressured Austria to use their “Einsatzkommando COBRA” counter-terrorism special ops unit to arrest Mihael Karner, the owner of an alleged 40 million euro steroid empire. Federal prosecutors in Massachusetts were confident of a successful extradition. However, Austria foiled their plan when they extradited him to Slovenia after he paid them one million euros!
In 2012, the DEA worked with the Straży Granicznej officials in Poland in an attempt to shut down the Uncle Z (Z-Pharma Labs, Euro-Pharmacies) steroid operation. Two men were detained and 666,000 steroid tablets, 19,000 steroid vials and 5,500 steroid ampoules were confiscated. But there are strong indications that the owner may have eluded authorities.
In 2013, Brian Wainstein (Axio Labs and GenXXL Gear), was finally arrested in South Africa. The Department of Justice is attempting to extradite Wainstein to face multiples counts of steroid distribution in a U.S. court.

The latest Department of Justice press release has acknowledged that it it talking to the Israeli government and asking questions about Sciroxx. What does this mean? Clearly, Sciroxx is on its radar. Is Sciroxx a target in an ongoing investigation? Or do the DEA and FDA-OCI have bigger international fish to fry?

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Police Make Mistake: Anabolic Steroids Not Really Found at Oscar Pistorius Home

Hundreds of articles have been written about Oscar Pistorius and “roid rage” after police allegedly discovered prohibited anabolic steroids at his home. This led to much discussion and speculation that “roid rage” may have caused Pistorius to kill his girlfriend. It turns out that the police made an embarrassing mistake. They didn`t really find anabolic steroids after all.

Hilton Botha, a Detective Warrant Officer for the South African Police Service, testified in Pretoria Magistrate`s Court that he found two boxes of testosterone, needles and syringes in Pistorius` bedroom. South African State Prosecutor Gerrie Nel also told the court that police found testosterone.

Detective Botha was forced to withdraw his testimony after admitting he “didn`t read the whole name” on the box of suspected steroids after a cross-examination by Pistorius` defense attorney.

Instead, it appears that police and prosecutors mistakenly identified an innocuous homeopathic preparation as testosterone. The product was “testocomposutim coenzyme” according to the New York Times.

Barry Roux, a lawyer for Mr. Pistorius, cross-examined Detective Botha, seeking to poke holes in his account.

The substance found, Mr. Roux said, was not testosterone at all but a herbal supplement called testocomposutim coenzyme, which is used by many athletes and not banned by anti-doping agencies. Asked if the substance had been tested, Detective Botha said tests had not yet been completed.

“I didn`t read the whole name” on the container, Detective Botha admitted.

A Google search for “testocomposutim coenzyme” did not result in a match for any products by that name. The closest match was a homeopathic remedy called “testis composutim” that appears to be somewhat consistent with Roux`s description of the product .

Pistorius` lead defense lawyer, Barry Roux, asserted when questioning the detective — who has 16 years` experience as a detective and 24 years with the police — that it was not a banned substance and that police were trying to give the discovery a “negative connotation.”

“It is an herbal remedy,” Roux said. “It is not a steroid and it is not a banned substance.”

A pending lab analysis will make the final determination as to the presence or absence of banned anabolic steroids.

Is ‘testis compositum` the mystery substance used by Pistorius? If so, what is it?

Testis compositum is manufactured by Heel. It is a combination of several organ extracts (including animal testicles) and various homoeopathic remedies according to the manufacturer.

Testis compositum contains five different organ extracts: testis suis (animal testicles), embryo suis (embryo), diencephalon suis, cor suis (heart) and glandula suprarenalis suis.

Testis compositum includes multiple single homoeopathic remedies: Aralia quinquefolia, Selenium metallicum (selenium), Lycopodium clavatum (club moss), Conium maculatum (spotted hemlock), Ferrum phosphoricum (iron phosphate), Zincum metallicum (zinc), Phosphorus, Curare (arrow poison), Caladium seguinum, Cantharis (Spanish Fly), Agnus castus (chaste tree), Damiana (Turnera aphrodisiaca), Panax ginseng, Kalium picrinicum (potassium picrate), Strychninum phosphoricum (strychnine phosphate), Magnesium phosphoricum (magnesium), Manganum phosphoricum (managanese phosphate). It also contains the following enzyme “co-factors”: Acidum ascorbicum (Vitamin C) and Cortisonum aceticum (cortisone acetate).

If athletes are still injecting animal testicle extracts, it represents a major step backwards for science. While this may have been popular among athletes over a century ago (e.g. Baseball Hall of Famer Pud Galvin`s injections of Brown-Séquard Elixir in 1889), most athletes have upgraded their choice of performance-enhancing products to reflect advances in science.

At any rate, Testis Compositum will surely make a great addition to the deer antler spray non-doping doping regimen!

UPDATE February 24, 2013: Various news media have confirmed the product was “Testis Compositum.”

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China Shocked It is the Source of Steroid Powder for the Rest of the World

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the Chinese government just learned something about anabolic steroids that has been common knowledge in the bodybuilding community for well over a decade. Where (what country) do most underground steroid labs (UGLs) and steroid “home-brewers” obtain their steroid powders?

For those steroid-using bodybuilders who have been living under a rock for the last decade, WADA Director General David Howman has the answer. He broke the news to Reuters television during the WADA`s 2013 Media Symposium at the Sofitel London Heathrow on February 12, 2013.

“Ninety-nine percent of the raw materials that are used through the internet to make up in your kitchen or your backyard laboratory are emanating from China,” Howman said. “They are going to gangs who then put them together in little plastic capsules and are sold on the street or in the gyms.”

Howman`s revelation wasn`t really news to anyone except for the news media that rely on WADA as their sole source of information about doping and anabolic steroids AND apparently the Chinese government!

Jiang Zhixue, the anti-doping chief of China`s State General Administration of Sport, told the Xinhua News Agency that he was “shocked” that people around the world obtained most of their raw steroid powder from China.

“We are shocked at Mr. Howman`s comment,” said China`s anti-doping chief Jiang Zhixue.

“We are wondering where this 99 percent came from and what is his evidence,” said Jiang. “We have asked for a more detailed explanation from WADA.”…

“There are problems, such as illegal sale of banned drugs through the Internet. So we have decided to launch an investigation into WADA`s allegation,” he said.

While it is understandable that WADA is behind the times in their war on steroids, few really believe China was in the dark regarding the role Chinese steroid powder suppliers have played in the worldwide demand for anabolic steroids.

After all, China was one of nine countries that offered extensive cooperation with the United States during 2007 Operation Raw Deal. Operation Raw Deal was the largest steroid law enforcement action in the history of the United States and it resulted in dismantling of 56 underground labs.

Where did most of these UGLs obtain their raw steroid powder? You guessed it. China.

Operation Raw Deal (United States) was closely coordinated with law enforcement officials in others countries e.g. Canada (Operation Powder Keg), Australia (Operation Kasha), Belgium, China, Denmark, Germany, Sweden and Thailand. Every country was well-aware of the fact that the majority of the steroid powder originated in China.

In the United States, the UGLs fueled by Chinese powder included Powerline Labs, Superior Labs, Medline Pharmaceuticals, Pro Pharm Labs, TexStar Labs, Phalco Labs, Nassau Pharmaceuticals and Pacific Rim Labs. In Canada, they included Teragon Labs and Oropharma Labs.

Sources big and small imported their steroid powder from China. Even 17-year old teenagers who wanted to create an UGL knew China was the go-to country for steroid powder.

China was well aware of their steroid powder issues during the run up to the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. Even Jiang, while feigning total shock at the Chinese steroid trade, acknowledged the coordinated effort among government departments in China to shut down a factory factories involved in the illegal trade of steroid powders and related materials.

Operation Raw Deal, Operation Powder Keg, Operation Kasha and the 2008 Chinese Olympic crackdown presented a minor disruption to the worldwide androgen black market. It quickly recovered and was barely noticed by most end users. Did any law enforcement really believe otherwise?

In response to WADA`s revelation of the Chinese steroid problem, Jiang suggested the revisiting of another multi-agency crack down on Chinese powder suppliers comparable to the Beijing Olympic crackdown.

This might result in another hiccup for UGLs and the illicit steroid black market. But with the long history of prohibition`s failures as our guide, this chapter in the war on steroids will have little long-term impact. Supply and demand will find a way.