56 U.S. Steroid Labs Closed; 124 Arrested; Law Enforcement in 9 Nations Aid Massive Trafficking Probe

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Byline: Jerry Seper, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

An international drug investigation targeting the global underground trade of anabolic steroids, human growth hormone and insulin growth factor has netted 124 arrests, the closure of 56 clandestine steroid labs across the United States and the seizure of 11.4 million individual steroid doses.

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Postal Inspection Service agents, with law-enforcement authorities in nine countries, made the arrests and seizures on 143 federal search warrants as a culmination to Operation Raw Deal, the largest steroid enforcement action in U.S. history.

Investigators also seized $6.5 million in cash, 25 vehicles, three boats, 27 pill presses and 71 weapons.

"DEA successfully attacked the illegal steroid industry at every level of its distribution network - from the manufacturers in China who supply the raw materials, to the traffickers in the United States who market the deadly doses," said DEA Administrator Karen P. Tandy.

The 18-month probe targeted traffickers accused of importing raw materials for their steroid products from China. DEA officials said more than 530 pounds of raw materials were confiscated during the arrests from Thursday to Sunday in 27 states.

In May, as part of the investigation, a federal grand jury in Baltimore indicted Bradley C. Blum, 36, of Houston, for conspiring to illegally distribute and illegally distributing human growth hormone, which, authorities said, he obtained from a manufacturer in China, and then unlawfully sold to customers in Maryland and elsewhere in the United States.

Authorities said the indictment seeks $863,534 in property and proceeds involved in and traceable to the distribution scheme.

Criminal charges also have been filed this month in several federal districts in the investigation, including California, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. …