More than 90 arrested in US raids targeting steroid trade

WASHINGTON • More than 90 people have been arrested across the United States in raids targeting trade in anabolic steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs made in and shipped from China.

The Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) Operation Cyber Juice involved more than 30 investigations in 20 US states and resulted in the seizure of 16 underground steroid labs.

Also confiscated were 636kg of raw steroid powder, 8,200 litres of raw steroid injectable liquid and more than US$2 million (S$2.8 million) in currency and other assets, the Justice Department said on Tuesday.

Underground labs are often found to have finished steroid products, raw steroid powder, oils needed for steroid conversion to a finished product, conversion kits and other lab equipment, it added.

In the western state of Arizona alone, DEA agents seized four labs and nearly 150,000 dosage units of the finished product.

"These products are commonly obtained via the Internet from Chinese chemical manufacturing companies and underground labs," the department said in a statement.

DEA acting administrator Chuck Rosenberg said: "Too many young people are ruining their lives and damaging their bodies from steroid use." He added: "Through Operation Cyber Juice, DEA is attacking the global underground steroid market, exposing its dangers and lies."

Over the course of the operation, the DEA worked with the US and global authorities, including Europol and the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada).

"For a long time now, the World Anti-Doping Agency has been concerned about the illegal activity in some countries of underground production of and trade of anabolic steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs," Wada director-general David Howman was quoted as saying by Voice of America news.

"These substances, either as full steroid products or in raw material form, are being produced in unsanitary 'underground laboratories' with no concern whatsoever given to the labelling of the products, nor to the health of the end user - quite often the athlete and, worryingly, very often young people."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 03, 2015, with the headline 'More than 90 arrested in US raids targeting steroid trade'. Print Edition | Subscribe