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Friday 16, Sep 2011

  Missouri Man Sentenced for Steroid Conspiracy

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A Nixa, Missouri, man has been sentenced in federal court for his role in a conspiracy to smuggle anabolic steroids from the Peoples Republic of China.

This was announced by Matt J. Whitworth, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri.

Mikal Gunn Schrage, 30, of Nixa, was sentenced by U.S. Chief District Judge Fernando J. Gaitan for smuggling anabolic steroids from China and selling them over the Internet to customers in the United States, as well as to a related money-laundering conspiracy.

Thursday 18, Aug 2011

  Three Missouri Defendants Sentenced

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Three Missouri Defendants SentencedThe federal court has sentenced three defendants in separate but related cases arising from Operation Raw Deal.

Operation Raw Deal is an international investigation that targets the illegal manufacturing and trafficking of anabolic steroids and its raw materials, mainly from China.

The related investigation in the Western District of Missouri is called Operation Juice Box.

Wednesday 03, Nov 2010

  Chinese Drug Company pleads guilty in GH case

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Chinese Drug Company pleads guilty in GH caseGeneScience Pharmaceutical, a Chinese drug company, and its chief executive have agreed to plead guilty to charges of illegally distributing human growth hormone in the United States, as per filings in United States District Court in Rhode Island.

The company, which identifies itself as China’s most profitable biopharmaceutical company, had distributed the growth hormone (GH) in China and other parts of the world through the Internet.

According to a court filing, the clean competition fund that is to be administered by the Rhode Island Community Foundation would support anti-doping in sports, drug screening, and clinical research into long-term effects of human growth hormone.

Sunday 01, Feb 2009

  COUPLE TO BE SENTENCED FOR ILLEGAL DISTRIBUTION OF STEROIDS

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operation_raw_deal-steroidsOperation Raw Deal started several years back and has been a cooperative effort of various countries include the United States, Australia, China, Canada and Thailand. The operation is headed by the Drug Enforcement Administration and aims to identify, arrest, and righteously sentence individuals who import, manufacture and distribute performance enhancing drugs illegally. The DEA also wants to identify certain individuals, such as those involved in sports, who use these drugs. Among those examined are anabolic steroids, human growth hormone and human chorionic gonadotropin. The undercover operation has revealed that most of the suppliers of raw materials come from China.

A couple in Pearland, Texas were among the first to be arrested as a result of Operation Raw Deal. Kenneth Hebert and Leticia Zamora were found to be operating a major pill mill wherein they manufacture steroids themselves then sell them through the internet. Over a million illegal steroids have been distributed by the couple. The two pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentence. Hebert and Zamora are among the hundreds of people arrested because of the undercover operation.

Tuesday 27, Jan 2009

  NEW JERSEY LOCAL FACES 33 MONTHS OF IMPRISONMENT

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rd1-steroidsA local of Sayreville, New Jersey has been sentenced for manufacturing more than a thousand doses of anabolic steroids right in his own residences. Alfred Scarpa was found as a result of an investigation known as “Operation Raw Deal“. Federal agents were able to arrest and charge over a hundred drug dealers across the country. Last September 20, 2007, Scarpa’s house was raided and federal agents managed to seize 40,000 doses of steroids, 2 guns, and cash worth $56,000. They also found that part of his house was turned into a steroid factory and was used to produce his own stocks.

Scarpa was charged with illegal possession and manufacturing of steroids with the intent to distribute them, and possession of firearms. The man pleaded guilty to everything and has now been sentenced to 33 months in prison. The authorities are waiting and expecting Scarpa to surrender himself voluntarily by March 23 to face his sentence.

Scarpa has been part of several drug distribution schemes. In 2000, he was convicted for illegal distribution of cocaine in Monmouth County. In 2003, he was arrested in Union County for distributing ketamine

Friday 05, Sep 2008

  Columbia woman pleads guilty in anabolic steroid case

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operation-raw-dealLast year’s Operation Raw Deal continues to claim quarry. This time, it’s a couple.

The conviction is the result of Operation Raw Deal, an international investigation that targets the illegal manufacturing and trafficking of anabolic steroids and its raw materials. The raw materials were mainly sourced from China. Raw Deal’s related investigation in the Western District of Missouri is dubbed Operation Juice Box.

From Columbia Tribune:

April Dawn Wilson, 33, entered her plea in front of Magistrate Judge William Knox a day after her ex-husband pleaded guilty to his role in an international anabolic steroids bust from last year. She was indicted by a federal grand jury in September.

Bryan G. Wilson, 39, of Kansas City pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute anabolic steroids and conspiracy to commit money laundering. He faces a sentence of as much as 30 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine of as much as $1 million.

Under federal statutes, April Wilson is subject to a sentence of as much as 15 years in federal prison without parole and a $500,000 fine.

The former couple admitted they participated in a conspiracy to distribute anabolic steroids from 2003 until Sept. 15 and conspiracy to commit money laundering, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney John Wood’s office.

According to reports, it was in February 2007 when Federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents in California identified Wilson as an underground lab operator in the distribution trade of anabolic steroids. Wilson was subsequently entrapped in September after picking up a package containing raw steroid powder. The package was sent from China to a Columbia UPS store.

Wilson conducted his illegal trade by ordering raw chemicals and steroid powders online, manufactured them right at makeshift lab in his home and sent them via mail across the country.

Their distribution business was reportedly good. The couple had several accounts, and to disguise their money laundering activity they commingled their legitimate income with the money from drug proceeds.

From 2002 through 2007, April Wilson admitted, they deposited a total of $874,023 into those bank accounts, including $519,402 in cash deposits. She also confessed that she used a $15,000 cashier’s check of drug money as payment for a Noble M12 sports car in November 2005.

Sunday 17, Aug 2008

  NFL player Ryan Fowler considers his steroid case closed

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NFL-steroidsRyan Fowler must have released a big sigh of relief when his scheduled meeting regarding his alleged use of steroids and performance-enhancing drugs was not pursued by the National Football League. This is according to the news by the AP.

Tennessee linebacker Ryan Fowler considers his steroids case with the NFL closed.

Fowler said Wednesday he hasn’t heard from the league since requesting a meeting to address allegations that he bought performance-enhancing drugs from a Texas-based steroids dealer in 2006. The NFL sent him a letter in June stating he faced an investigation and possible suspension.

Fowler said he assumes the probe has ended with no punishment planned.

“Until I hear anything else, that’s the way I’m looking at it right now,” Fowler said after practice. “I’m focusing on football. Until I hear anything else, I’ll assume it’s over.”
Fowler was linked to convicted steroids dealer David Jacobs, who was found dead with a female companion in his Plano, Texas, home in June in what police called a murder-suicide.

Jacobs told The Dallas Morning News before he died that he had supplied Fowler with drugs before and after the 2006 season, and he gave the NFL names of players who bought steroids from him.

In June this year, Jacobs killed his female companion Amanda Jo Earhart-Savell with seven gunshots from a .40-caliber semiautomatic Glock 22 that Jacobs also turned on himself. There were reports that say that jealousy played a significant role in the murder-suicide case. The two were reportedly dating each other on and off since 2007. It was alleged that the Earhart-Savell, a former figure competitor, was also romantically involved Matt Lehr, a former Dallas Cowboy lineman. Lehr, who currently plays with the New Orleans Saints, was one of the NFL players whom Jacobs implicated in the latter’s steroid distribution network.

In April 2007, Jacobs’ home was raided and federal authorities discovered that the former bodybuilder was producing and selling large amounts of steroids and other performance-enhancing compounds. It was reported that the authorities seized thousands of units of steroids during that operation. He later pleaded guilty in a Dallas federal court to steroid-distribution charges as part of his plea bargain with prosecutors. On May 2008, Jacobs got probation in exchange for his cooperation with the federal investigation of his steroid dealings. He was also told to pay a fine of $25,000.

The Jacobs’ case was part of the sweeping crackdown against distributors of anabolic steroids codenamed Operation Raw Deal in 2007. The operation was led by the Drug Enforcement Administration and resulted to raids across the U.S. and in other countries as well.

The NFL did not immediately respond to an e-mail from The Associated Press.

Fowler has denied using any performance-enhancing drugs. His attorney has pointed out that Fowler never tested positive for any banned substance and had requested to meet with the NFL.

The linebacker signed with Tennessee in 2007 as a restricted free agent and started 14 games before hurting his shoulder at Kansas City in December. He said he’s frustrated that the allegations came out and that he had to deal with the scrutiny.

“No matter what anybody says there’s going to be people who automatically assume guilty until proven innocent, which is sort of a tough pill to swallow,” Fowler said. “Now that it’s over, or seems to be over, I’m trying to move on past it.”

Fowler was born in May 20, 1982 in Redington Shores and Florida. Fowler signed with the Tennessee Titans on March 2007 and in it was in June 9, 2008 when he was implicated in a steroid scandal that has rocked the NFL. Fowler and Lehr are just two of several NFL players whom Jacobs said he supplied with steroids and PEDs.

Jacobs stated that he advised several NFL players on how to skirt the league’s drug testing programs. He said he instructed the players to have team doctors to write them for prescription drugs that would mask steroid use. He specifically mentioned finasteride, a drug prescribed for men suffering from alopecia or hair loss.

The use of steroids and performance boosters has been a big concern in the NFL for decades now. The organization began testing for these substances in the late 1980s, specifically during the 1987 season. NFL started issuing suspensions during the 1989 season. In 1992, this issue has grabbed public attention because of the death of Lyle Alzado, who played defensive line for Los Angeles Raiders, Cleveland Browns, and Denver Broncos during the 1970s and early 1980s. Alzado died of brain cancer and blamed his use of anabolic steroids for his disease. His team of doctors, however, said that anabolic steroids did not contribute to his death.

Use of steroids and PEDs are also documented in high school and collegiate levels.

Wednesday 13, Aug 2008

  High school athletes’ rampant use of steroids – p2

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steroids-schoolHigh school athletes’ rampant use of steroids – part 2

You can’t lie to kids

Woolfolk knows what he’s talking about since he had personally seen the widespread use of steroids in sports, particularly in the NFL. Woolfolk, who originally hailed from Milwaukee, played collegiately at Michigan and in the NFL from 1982-88, most notably with the Houston Oilers.

Woolfolk now works as a consultant for the forward Edge, drug-testing firm based out of Houston. He says that if people don’t think steroids are a problem in high school, they need immediate reality check.

“When I spoke in front of the (Texas) Senate Committee hearings, I knew what was going on, because I have a good feel for what’s going on in high school,” Woolfolk said. “I knew at least 15-20 guys that were using. I threw out statistics that astonished (Senate members).
“When they voted (to implement mandatory steroid testing in Texas high schools last school year), it was almost unanimous.”

He says he always knew it was an “epidemic in football”. He related how he would see firsthand football players taking steroids in the locker rooms with trainers administering the banned compounds.

“It was done out in the open, but you’ve gotta remember, it was different back then. There was no steroid testing back then,” Woolfolk said.

Woolfolk’s area has also witnessed a sting operation similar to that of the St. Landry Parish.

Almost a year ago, Texas authorities busted an underground a home-based steroid lab in Pearland. The operation was part of the nationwide investigation dubbed as “Operation Raw Deal” which has resulted to 124 arrests and the seizure of 56 steroid labs across the United States. In total, 11.4 million steroid dosage units were seized, as well as 242 kilograms of raw steroid powder of Chinese origin. As part of Operation Raw Deal, $6.5 million was also seized, as well as 25 vehicles, 3 boats, 27 pill presses, and 71 weapons.

In the Pearland raid, authorities found eight kilograms of raw steroid powders, more than 100,000 steroid tablets and 200 10-milligram vials of injectable anabolic steroids.

Woolfolk attributes the lure of steroids to their effectiveness.

“Biggest problem with steroids is they work,” Woolfolk said. “You want to get bigger, stronger, faster, you take steroids. You can’t lie to kids and say it won’t help you. They see the results.”

Strother also acknowledges the need for kids to know about the truth about these substances. He is concerned that more and more kids are using steroids and the demographics are getting younger too. Steroid use is the trend nowadays, he says.

“I think the place you start is education at a young age,” Strother said. “You provide them education about all the problems. The testing sounds good on paper, but we’re still seeing an increase in use. They’re very well aware of all the ins and outs of testing. They’re not all that random. It’s not enough to say we test.”

Mandatory testing for steroids – money for nothing?

In June 2007, local state Rep. Don Trahan passed a resolution mandating the Louisiana High School Athletic Association to do two things – to submit a report reviewing its policy on drug testing and to conduct a survey to determine the potential needs to test for anabolic steroids.

The survey, which many considered as unscientific, provided that steroid abuse is a minimal problem around the state. Now, with the recent steroid bust in St. Landry Parish, that problem could be addressed sooner than later.

Louisiana State Rep. Rickey Hardy feels that it is time to implement a system of steroid testing in his Louisiana.

Currently, the three states that invoke mandatory steroid testing in high schools are New Jersey, Texas and Illinois. Florida is may follow suit but currently suspending its testing program due to budget cuts.

The University Interscholastic League in Texas has tested more than 10,000 students this past spring. The testing resulted to only two positive tests, eliciting criticisms from some sector.

The program, many say, is just a waste of taxpayers’ money.

Tuesday 12, Aug 2008

  High school athletes’ rampant use of steroids – p1

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steroids-schoolHigh school athletes’ rampant use of steroids – part 1

The statistics surprised many. It looks like high school athletes in Louisiana are not only scoring points on the board, but scoring on steroids as well.

This is the unexpected finding of the recent undercover operations conducted by the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Department. The seven-month sting operation targeted gyms in Opelousas, Eunice and Krotz Springs and yielded arrest of four suspected steroid distributors and identification of more than 100 users. Among the users were a couple of high school athletes around the area of St. Landry Parish.

“It really surprised me that we had that much of a problem in St. Landry Parish with illegal steroid use,” said parish Sheriff Bobby Guidroz. “I’m really surprised that it’s that big. Now that we’re fully into the investigation, we’re certainly gathering some good intelligence and identifying more users.”

“We don’t know that number,” Guidroz said. “We are still in the identification process. (Steroid abuse among high school athletes) concerns me as a sheriff. If we do have a problem with high school athletes, we’re certainly going to bring it to a head.”

Because the investigation is still ongoing, Guidroz refused to give details on the number of number of high school athletes involved, or what schools were represented.

Unlike the law enforcement department, however, Darren Strother was not taken aback with the results of the steroid bust.

Statistics don’t lie

In the spring of 1999, Strother did a thesis on the use of steroids in high school athletics and gathered an alarming data. In his poll of football players at eight high schools in Acadiana area, 28 percent admitted to either using steroids or having tried performance-enhancing drugs at some point.

“I think it was a problem when I did my thesis, and it’s obviously still a problem now,” said Strother, who is now a doctor and currently works as a clinical neuropsychologist in Lafayette. “When I did my thesis, I never set out to prove there were a lot of people doing it. I was more interested in the mindset of an athlete who does steroids.

“I knew I was going to get numbers, but I didn’t think I would get as many people to admit to it. I was surprised, because it was far more than I thought, but each time something like this has come up, it’s pretty consistent. I think, for a while, people have underestimated how widespread this is.”

Harold “Butch” Woolfolk is not one of those people who underestimate steroid use amongst young athletes.

Thursday 24, Jul 2008

  Nixa man pleads guilty to steroid-smuggling charges

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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.

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