Category Archives: dea

Japan is considering introducing an anti-doping law as the country gears up for 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Hiroshi Hase, Japanese Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, said a law against doping was “necessary legislation” as Japan seeks to curb drug abuse by athletes at the Tokyo Games.

“Japan needs to introduce measures dedicated to anti-doping such as educating the public and athletes,” Hase told reporters after a Cabinet meeting.

“And we need to be able to deal with the issue based on law,” he said.

His comments come after the IAAF, track and field’s world governing body, voted to suspend Russia’s athletics federation in November, following the publication of a World Anti-Doping Agency report that alleged “state-sponsored” drug use.

“We need to increase the integrity of sport by cooperating with the International Olympic Committee. Doping is absolutely wrong,” Hase said.

According to Jiji Press, the ministry will soon set up a panel to discuss details of the legislation, such as penalties.

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Cops Fighting Mandatory Drug Tests – Describing the policy as “an illegal search and seizure.”

In an unprecedented protest against the routine offenses against due process and bodily integrity carried out in the name of the “war on drugs,” the union representing Pittsburgh police officers has condemned workplace drug and alcohol testing as a violation of the Constitution. Their zeal for the right to privacy only applies to themselves, however, not to the public they supposedly serve.

NBC affiliate WPXI reports that the Pittsburgh Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police “has filed a civil rights grievance against the city, claiming officers have been order to undergo drug and alcohol testing that is in violation of their contract.” Union attorney Bryan Campbell describes the policy as “an illegal search and seizure.”

Under the contract between the City of Pittsburgh and its paramilitary affiliate, police officers can be subjected to drug or alcohol tests only in three circumstances: When an officer displays signs of impairment on the job, fires a weapon, or is involved in a vehicle crash. The union’s complaint arises from a recent pursuit that ended in a car crash. Two officers who participated in the chase but were not directly involved in the crash were required to undergo testing.

Another blatantly obvious reason for police opposing public scrutiny of their urine is that it could reveal the usage of such things as anabolic steroids. Police officers are no stranger to ‘Vitamin S’ as many of them have not only been caught using the rage-inducing hormones, but selling them as well.

All I can say is: Quod licet Iovi, non licet bovi

Pitsburgh Police

Pangea VII – coordinated operation strikes at organized crime with seizure of 20 million illicit medicines

A total of 115 countries have taken part in a global operation targeting the criminal networks behind the sale of fake medicines via illicit online pharmacies, resulting in 156 arrests worldwide and the seizure of USD 81 million worth of potentially dangerous medicines.

Operation Pangea VIII was the largest ever Internet-based operation focusing on the illicit sale of medicines and medical devices via the Internet, with the participation of 236 agencies from police, customs and health regulatory authorities. Private partners from the Internet and payment industries also supported the operation, which saw a record number of 20.7 million illicit and counterfeit medicines seized – more than twice the amount confiscated during the 2013 operation.

The action resulted in the launch of 429 investigations, the suspension of 550 online adverts for illicit pharmaceuticals and 2,414 websites taken offline.

The UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) Head of Enforcement, Alastair Jeffrey, said: “The MHRA are committed to tackling the illegal trade in medical products and have been working with counterparts across the globe to close down websites and social media sites illegally advertising and selling these products. Criminals involved in the supply of medical products have no interest in your health; it is simply your money they want. Buying medicines from unregulated Internet sites can be risky – you are gambling with your health.”

In addition to interventions on the ground, which included the discovery of an illicit warehouse full of counterfeit and expired medicines in Indonesia, the operation also targeted the main areas exploited by organized crime in the illegal online medicine trade: rogue domain name registrars, electronic payment systems and delivery services.

Operation Pangea VIII was coordinated by INTERPOL, together with the World Customs Organization (WCO), the Permanent Forum of International Pharmaceutical Crime (PFIPC), the Heads of Medicines Agencies Working Group of Enforcement Officers (WGEO), Europol and the Pharmaceutical Security Institute (PSI), and supported by the Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies (CSIP) and private sector companies including LegitScript, Google, MasterCard, Visa, and PayPal.

As well as raids at addresses linked to the illicit pharmaceutical websites, some 150,000 packages were inspected by customs and regulatory authorities, of which 50,000 were seized during the international week of action (9 – 16 June).

International collaboration between Canada, France, the UK, the US, INTERPOL and the private sector resulted in the closure of two Internet domain names selling the potentially lethal and illicit diet drug 2.4-dinitrophenol (DNP) after one woman died in the UK and a French man was left seriously ill after taking the substance purchased from these sites.

At the request of French authorities, INTERPOL issued an Orange Notice warning about the dangers of DNP, and through Operation Pangea VIII, INTERPOL and the health authorities of Canada and the US convinced the Internet registrar to suspend the two domains known to be selling DNP.

Among the fake and illicit medicines seized during the operation were blood pressure medication, erectile dysfunction pills, cancer medication and nutritional supplements. In the case from Indonesia, authorities uncovered an operation where criminals were altering the expiry date or the amount of the active ingredient on packages of counterfeit, expired and unregistered medicines at the warehouse and returning them to a pharmacy for sale.

“Our efforts to protect the health of patients by preventing the online sale of potentially dangerous illegal medical products will not cease,” said George M. Karavetsos, director of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Office of Criminal Investigations.

“Operation Pangea VIII provides yet another avenue for the FDA to engage with our international law enforcement partners on these critical issues. We are not only pleased to be a part of this strong international enforcement effort, but resolved to do everything we can to ensure that the global problem of illegal internet drug and device sales is deterred as a result,” he added.

A new focus of the operation this year was on counterfeit medical products. For example, investigations in the US have raised awareness of the growing health risk posed by the use of illicit or mislabeled silicone injections in cosmetic procedures. If used incorrectly, or containing substances other than medical-grade silicone, the injections can cause serious medical complications.

INTERPOL’s Executive Director of Police Services Tim Morris said: “More and more people are using the Internet to purchase everyday items, and criminals are taking advantage of this trend to deceive customers into buying fake and even dangerous medicines and medical products online, with no concern to the health risks this poses.”

“Through strong collaboration between law enforcement, health agencies and Internet and payment companies, INTERPOL’s Operation Pangea VIII has made significant progress in protecting innocent consumers by shutting down illegitimate online pharmacies and seizing illegal and counterfeit pharmaceutical products,” added Mr Morris.

He highlighted a case in the UK where authorities discovered an illegal online pharmacy selling unlicensed medicines obtained from another country. Police and the MHRA raided a premises connected to the website – which was arranged to look like a legal pharmacy – and seized 60,000 units of potentially dangerous medicines worth an estimated USD 2.4 million.

The participation of Google, one of the world’s largest Internet companies, underscored the importance of collaboration between law enforcement and the private sector in combating online pharmaceutical crime

“Google has long recognized the importance of working with law enforcement and others to collectively frustrate the business operations of rogue online pharmacies. Our involvement in Operation Pangea is yet another way to make it even harder for rogue actors to harm Internet users,” said Adam Barea, Legal Director at Google.

A dedicated operations centre at INTERPOL’s General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon served as the central hub for information exchange among the participating countries and agencies. From this base, the WCO coordinated activities between participating customs administrations and the Pangea team via its secure messaging system, and a mobile Europol office in Vienna, Austria also conducted cross-checks.

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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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Attention Steroid Dealers: If a Customer Wants to Buy Steroids in a Donut Shop, Of Course It is a Cop!

What happens when a sports nutrition store employee doesn`t think the store has supplements strong enough for certain customers? Now that most of the steroidal substances sold as dietary supplements are becoming more aggressively regulated, what is the supplement store employee to do? In the case of George Touma, the clerk thought he would offer them something a little stronger and a lot less legal than the dietary supplements sold by his employer.

Tuoma worked as a store clerk for the General Nutrition Centers (GNC) store at the Walpole Mall in East Walpole, Massachusetts. An anonymous tipster told police that the supplement store clerk was selling anabolic steroids on the side. This led to a month-long investigation by the Walpole Police Department that culminated in the arrest of Touma on two steroid charges.

George Touma was arrested on October 24, 2012. He was charged with the alleged possession of a Class E substance (anabolic steroids) with intent to distribute and possession of a Class E substance (anabolic steroids).

Walpole Deputy Police Chief John Carmichael told the Walpole Times how the steroid bust went down.

After the GNC clerk was identified, an undercover police officer started visiting the GNC store and established a friendly rapport with Touma. The officer agreed to purchase two vials of steroids from Touma for $150 each.

The undercover officer and Touma agreed to meet at the Dunkin Donuts location at 491 Walpole Street in Norwood. The officer paid Touma and took possession of the steroids. Touma was arrested at Dunkin Donuts immediately following the steroid transaction.

Clearly, selling illegal anabolic steroids is a bad idea. But the real lesson to be learned by steroid dealers everywhere is: If a potential customer wants to meet you at a donut shop to buy steroids, you will be a fool not to smell “cop” written all over it!

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Steroid Drug Testing

Sports athletes happen to be examined for steroid use for several years, and lots of happen to be suspended from sports, have needed to quit Olympic medals, or need triggered other sports athletes associated with these to be suspended. Regardless of this, steroid drug abuse among sports athletes is extremely large. Certain national gym chains are recognized for getting in-house staff which will connect body contractors along with other sports athletes to doctors or drug sellers who`ll distribute anabolic steroids. Using anabolic steroids is against the law, but supplying them is a whole lot worse and may cost you a person amount of time in jail. Teens who exercise are frequently offered anabolic steroids to assist them to build muscle faster.

Steroid drugs are created guy-made drugs that are based on male sex the body`s hormones. They get buff and increase male characteristics. Anabolic steroids might be legally supplied by your physician to deal with debilitating illnesses for example Helps along with other illnesses, but they`re not legal unless of course an individual has a prescription on their behalf from the licensed physician. A few of the illegal anabolic steroids that are offered in the pub are really medicine for creatures. Vets frequently prescribe anabolic steroids to build muscle muscle of creatures, and a few of these float to the underground community available. Anabolic steroids might have serious unwanted effects which are irreversible. Some unwanted effects can impact one`s heart, liver, along with other major organs from the body.

If you`re parents of the teen who`s showing signs and symptoms of steroid use, you might want to consider professional testing in a drug testing facility for the teen. You will find also tests available on the web to check for anabolic steroids. These test-at-home kits cost around $140 for any one-time use. Because the unwanted effects of anabolic steroids are extremely severe, it`s certainly well worth the money to possess your child examined if they is obsessive about muscle building, bulking up, working out to extremes, developing flat stomach, or showing aggressive behavior. You will find other signs and symptoms too that the physician let you know. It is crucial to obtain your child help if they has proof of anabolic steroids within the urine before any permanent damage happens.

There`s a reasonably new steroid which was designed to not display in the mandatory drug tests that the majority sports athletes will need to take. This drug is Tetahydrogestirone (THG) and is discovered in 2003. THG has become noticeable in urine samples that Olympic sports athletes will need to take. Certain drug tests that others take will identify this drug too.

Most steroid drug exams are urine-based tests, and they`re frequently needed on the random test basis. Anabolic steroids remain in your body for 14 to thirty days after use, so that they will most likely show up on a steroid drug test. There`s a urine-based test which will test for 12 various steroid drugs. It tests for Testosterone, Methyloxandrolone, Clostebol, along with other anabolic steroids. Typical pre-employment drug screening doesn`t usually show using anabolic steroids because they exams are searching for 5 most generally mistreated drug groups – marijuana, cocaine, opiates, amphetamines, and phencyclidine. If the employer suspects that certain from the company`s employees is mistreating anabolic steroids, the worker might be needed to possess a urine test which will show steroid use.

William Llewellyn is confued (or confusig)

The other day I saw this video of a speech given by William Llewellyn at a satellite meeting of the National Drug Conference held in Cardiff, Wales April 2012. In the Video Llewellyn gives a brief history of the sale, distribution and use of anabolic steroids in sport. The video in itself is quite informative, and some good points are made, anyone interested in Anabolic Steroids should give it a look:

Now this video is swell and I agree with most things said by Llewellyn (especially the part about using safe gear), however, there is this little detail in there which was nagging at me for the last couple of days and I have to point it out – Llewellyn is, deliberately or by mistake, giving us, the audience, mixed opinion on one specific company. I have written some positive articles/posts about Asia Pharma, am really impressed with their gear, and I don’t hide it. Then again I am nobody in the steroid world.

On the other hand William Llewellyn is quite known in the steroid world and his opinion matters. A lot of people actually use his books as some kind of guide to which gear is good and which is not. If he endorses a brand people will buy it, if he says its crap, they wont. So I would really like to know his position on AsiaPharma Pharmaceuticals.

If you watch the Llewellyn peach, you will note that in the first part of the video, where he talks about Legitimate Pharmaceutical Production he is actually using Asia Pharma production pictures. You can find the pics on their webpage or see them in their manufacturing video:

So you would think, Llewellyn thinks AsiaPharma is Good to go, right? amm, no;

As you watch through the video, Llewellyn will start talking about UG labs, how they make products and eventually will show a picture of bunched up products and name couple of companies in the picture which he believes are underground labs. But note, on this picture, AsiaPharma products are shown. He doesn’t name AsiaPharma as an underground lab, but he lets the viewer believe it is UG non the less. Here is a picture (shown at 12:52 in the video):

I believe everybody is entitled to their own opinion on any matter of their choosing. As Llewellyn gives us an opinion on Geneza, Axio, Syntrop, Diamond, DutchLab, EuroChem, one would expect he would have no problem giving us his opinion on AsiaPharma as well. So William, in your opinion, is AsiaPharma a legitimate pharmaceutical manufacturer? Are their products safe (unlike the companies you specifically named in your video)?

Former Philadelphia Cop Who Distributed Sciroxx Brand Steroids Pleads Guilty

Former Philadelphia Police Detective Keith Gidelson has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute anabolic steroids and human growth hormone. Gidelson imported and sold various types of performance-enhancing drugs including various steroids marketed under the Sciroxx brand label. The former cop was identified as the ringleader of a major anabolic steroid distribution ring based in the Philadelphia.

Gidelson had a local network of steroid dealers that distributed steroids for him at gyms and health clubs throughout the Philadelphia metropolitan area. A federal indictment listed more than a dozen co-conspirators who worked with Gidelson and his wife. At least two of his co-conspirators were fellow police officers.

Gidelson also sold steroids, anti-estrogens, human growth hormone (hGH) and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) to individual customers that he solicited over the internet. As an internet source, he recruited customers through various bodybuilding forums including isteroids.com and bodybuilding.com.

Gidelson purchased Sciroxx brand steroids from “Karl” in Europe and hGH from “Roger” in China. Some of the injectable steroids offered by Gidelson included Testodex Enthanthate 250 (testosterone enanthate), Nandrodex 300 (nandrolone decanoate) and Trenadex Enanthate 200 (trenbolone enanthate). Bodybuilders frequently refer to these steroids as “test”,”deca” and “tren”, respectively.

Assistant United States Attorney David Axelrod explained how easy it was for law enforcement officers to bust Gidelson and his network. Gidelson used his cell phone extensively to conduct business with his clients via SMS text messaging. Gidelson contacted clients via SMS when new steroid shipments arrived. His clients often contacted him via SMS to place steroid orders. The amount of incriminating evidence obtained from mobile phone records was extensive.

Gidelson had a consistent system for distributing these steroids, Axelrod told KYW Newsradio. When he received a new shipment of steroids, he would call or send text messages to these customers. Sometimes these calls or texts were brief and in code. For instance, Gidelson and some of his co-conspirators used the term “books” to refer to steroids. Often Gidelson and his customers would speak openly about receiving a new shipment of steroids, referring to specific types of steroids by their commonly used names.

Gidelson is expected to be sentenced in January 2013.

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Domestic underground lab selling online busted in Omaha, Nebraska

Performance enhancers. You hear the term in reference to professional baseball players, Olympians and most recently, celebrated cyclist Lance Armstrong. But you dont expect one of your neighbors to be dealing in illegal steroids. Omaha police discovered in April that four local residents were players in a steroid ring with origins in China and a drug kingpin in New York.

Local narcotics detectives say they stumbled onto the largest steroid bust of their careers, one involving several hundred thousand dollars of the drug. Christopher J. Bowers, 45, of Omaha, Ryan M. Bowers, 29, of Papillion, Bernard Venditte, 31, of Omaha and Jeanine A. Rowe, 35, of Papillion each was charged with possession of illegal steroids with intent to deliver. The four are accused of acting as delivery agents for large shipments of home-cooked testosterone cocktails. Thousands of vials of illegal steroids were shipped into the Omaha area before and during the months-long investigation, said Omaha Police Sgt. Dave Bianchi. Raw hormones from China were mailed to the drug operations leader in New York. Bianchi said the ringleader turned it into an injectable solution and then bottled, labeled and shipped the toxic product to the Omaha and Papillion home addresses of those arrested. Their job was to repackage and mail the vials to online buyers.

The investigation began in April when a U.S. Postal Service inspector noticed something odd about two packages. Two Express Mail packages with consecutive numbers had been mailed from different post offices in New York. Both were addressed to Christopher Bowers home in Omaha, but the return addresses were for nonexistent businesses in New York, according to court documents. Those were red flags, indicating that drugs likely were in the packages. Police followed the delivery of the packages to Bowers home in midtown and discovered hundreds of vials of testosterone. These steroid cocktails would never be used as legitimate medical treatments, said Omaha narcotics Detective Greg Hamill. The home-brewed anabolic steroids had labels from a fake laboratory called Lexx Labs and were named Sustanon-300, Nandro-100, Masteron-100 and Deca-300. The doses could be up to 100 times higher than those used to treat medical conditions. Hamill called the mixtures ridiculously toxic. I believe some of the drugs would have stayed in Omaha, but we have nothing to indicate that the steroids were pushed on kids or legitimate athletes, Bianchi said. Hamill said the majority of steroid users are men looking to quickly bulk up muscle mass. Steroid abuse has been linked to serious health problems, including liver damage, kidney impairment or failure and enlargement of the heart, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Anabolic steroids fall under the same legal classification as the illegal possession of oxycodone or vicodin. When Bowers was questioned, authorities said, he implicated his nephew, Ryan Bowers. The younger man then indicated to police that a friend, Venditte, had approached him with the opportunity to make some money by repackaging steroids sent from New York, court documents state. Police said the supplier likely had used an online message board to approach one of the Omaha-area residents, who had purchased and personally used steroids in the past. More steroids were found in Vendittes west Omaha apartment, and then detectives uncovered Rowes connection to Venditte and yet more steroids.  This was the largest steroid arrest I have been involved with in 20 years, Bianchi said.

During the investigation, officers confiscated 4,430 vials, each containing 10 doses of illegal anabolic steroids. Also collected were 3,763 grams or more than eight pounds of raw hormone materials that originated in China, Bianchi said. Hamill estimated that an $800 investment in raw materials from China plus some basic lab equipment could turn into a $20,000 to $30,000 profit. Ryan and Christopher Bowers, Venditte and Rowe were meant to be paid for each repackaged set of steroids that was sent to an online purchaser, Bianchi said.

Once the four local residents were charged, the Omaha police narcotics unit, the federal Drug Enforcement Agency and New York law officers built a case against the ringleader, Nicholas Cangiano, 34. Cangiano was indicted in May in U.S. District Court in Nebraska on two counts: conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute anabolic steroids, and distribution of steroids. The four local people arrested have been released from jail on bail, and their cases are set for trial in Douglas County District Court. The felony charge against them carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, a $25,000 fine or both.

Christopher Bowers, a veteran air traffic controller at Eppley Airfield, had never been charged with a crime before in Nebraska or federal court, according to court documents. The Federal Aviation Administration said he has been suspended from his job pending the outcome of the case. Rowe had a similarly clean record. Ryan Bowers and Venditte had not been previously charged with a drug-related crime in Nebraska. The attorney for the Bowers men and Rowes lawyer declined to comment. Calls to Vendittes attorney were not returned.