73 Arrested in Texas Steroid Bust
MAY 28 -- (Fort Bend County, Texas) Milton Wright, Fort Bend County Sheriff, Zoran B. Yankovich, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Houston Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration, John Healey, Fort Bend County District Attorney, Tim Johnson, United States Attorney, Southern District of Texas, Rodney E. Clarke, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division of the Houston Field Office and Tommy Hennesy, Resident Agent-in-Charge, F.D.A. Austin announce the arrest of 73 defendants targeted in an investigation dubbed Operation “Farmacia de Juicy Phruit”.
In August 2006, The Fort Bend County Narcotics Task Force, which is a Houston High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Enforcement Team and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Houston Field Division, initiated Operation“Farmacia de Juicy Phruit”. Those individuals identified during this investigation were part of an international drug trafficking organization involved in the distribution of hundreds of thousands of dosage units of anabolic steroids, human growth hormones, MDMA (ecstasy) and controlled pharmaceutical substances to include; Anabolic steroids, Human Growth Hormones, Hydrocodone, Xanax and Viagra.
Fort Bend County Sheriff Milton Wright commented, “In my thirteen years as Sheriff of Fort Bend County this is by far one of the largest and most significant action our Fort Bend County Narcotics Task Force has initiated and enforced. This investigation is in fact by far the largest drug inforcement operation successfully executed in Fort Bend History. For that and many other reasons I commend our Narcotics Task Force and the Drug Enforcement Administration, Houston Field Division along with the Fort Bend County District Attorney’s Office, all of the local law enforcement agencies, the United States Marshals Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
In connection with Operation “Farmacia de Juicy Phruit” 51 defendants have been indicted by the Fort Bend County District Attorney’s Office and 22 defendants have been indicted by the United States Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Texas. Today, agents and officers of the Fort Bend County Sheriffs Office, the Fort Bend County HIDTA Enforcement Team, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Rosenberg Police Department, Houston Police Department (HPD), HPD SWAT, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the United States Marshals Service (USMS) arrested a total of 59 defendants in connection with Operation “Farmacia de Juicy Phruit”. Arrests have also been made in Georgia, Louisiana, California and Indiana.
Those defendants in state custody face charges to include conspiracy to manufacture or deliver controlled substances and conspiracy to commit delivery of dangerous drugs. If convicted on felony charges each defendant faces up to 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.
Fort Bend County District Attorney John Healey commented, “Our citizens should be proud that their law enforcement agencies are sending the message that the scourge of illegal steroids needs to be driven from our communities. People need only look at the tragic example of former professional athletes to realize that illegal steroid use can destroy their life.”
Special Agent-in-Charge of the Houston Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Zoran B. Yankovich commented “DEA and its law enforcement counterparts have uncovered an elaborate drug trafficking network involving the importation and distribution of anabolic steroids, human growth hormones, and addictive pharmaceutical drugs. We have seen too many times the dangers of steroids, HGH and prescription drug abuse. These drugs are harmful and they ruin lives, families and communities. DEA will continue to work everyday to rid our communities of these harmful poisons and the criminals who sell them.
Those defendants in Federal custody face charges to include money laundering, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance, aiding and abetting possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance and conspiracy to manufacture and possess a controlled substance. If convicted defendants can face up to 5 years in prison and be required to pay up to $250,000.00 in fines. The money laundering charge holds a penalty of up to 25 years in prison and up to $500,000.00 in fines.
Special Agent-in-Charge of the Houston Field Office of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, commented, “This case brings together the Federal, State and Local Agencies to identify, investigate and vigorously prosecute those involved in International Drug Trafficking and Money Laundering Activities. IRS – CI remains committed to working with its Law Enforcement Partners to identify those involved in these illegal activites. These arrests were the result of a two year investigation by the Fort Bend County High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Enforcement Team, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Internal Revenue Service and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
This is an ongoing investigation which initially started as a local investigation targeting individual distributors of anabolic steroids. As the investigation evolved it uncovered regional, national and international targets involved in the illegal importation of controlled substances from China, Europe and Canada. Over time the investigation crossed the lines from illegal distribution of anabolic steroids to illegal distribution of prescription drugs and distribution of designer drugs such as MDMA/ecstasy.
Criminal complaints and indictments by a grand jury are accusatory in nature and should not be considered a determination of guilt. All defendants are considered innocent until proven otherwise in a court of law.