A Nixa resident, Mikal Gunn Schrage, has now joined the enterprising, yet unfortunate, souls who had been caught red handed by the drag net launched by the Drug Enforcement Agency in September last year. Dubbed Operation Raw Deal, the assault on steroid smugglers, manufacturers and sellers was considered to be the largest performance-enhancing drug crackdown in US history.

Raw Deal was an offshoot of Operation Gear Grinder, which targeted Mexican laboratories in 2005. Said labs were reportedly the conduit of about 82 percent of America’s underground steroid trade. It was discovered then that Chinese factories had been providing raw materials for the Mexican labs. When Gear Grinder shut down the labs, Chinese suppliers turned directly to underground labs in the US.

Missourian has this report on July 19 on the Nixa man:

A Nixa man has pleaded guilty to federal charges in his role in a conspiracy to smuggle anabolic steroids from China and sell them over the Internet.

Mikal Gunn Schrage, 29, pleaded guilty Friday to the charges contained in a 2007 federal indictment, said John F. Wood, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri.

During the series of raids conducted by agents in 2007, 99.9 percent of the steroids seized originated from China. The DEA identified 37 Chinese factories were identified that were allegedly supplying raw materials of anabolic steroids across the US.

The plea was the result of Operation Raw Deal, an international investigation targeting the illegal manufacturing and trafficking of anabolic steroids and its raw materials, mainly from China.

Raw Deal had also closely monitored online message boards where advisories about how and when to source out steroid raw materials. Investigators also targeted internet sites selling finished products of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs. Hundreds of thousands of electronic messages were also intercepted as part of the operation.

Schrage admitted to participating in a conspiracy to import anabolic steroids from China between Nov. 1, 2004, and Sept. 20, 2007. Schrage then sold the drugs over the Internet and shipped them to customers throughout the U.S.

He also pleaded guilty to a money-laundering charge and could face 28 years in prison, plus a fine up to $1 million. A sentencing hearing has not been set.