Operation Raw Deal
SEP 25 -- KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Preston L. Grubbs, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) St. Louis Field Division, and John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that four Missourians are among those charged in separate cases filed in several states as the result of an international investigation targeting the illegal manufacturing and trafficking of anabolic steroids and its raw materials, mainly from China.
These cases are the result of Operation Raw Deal, the largest steroid enforcement action in U.S. history. The U.S. operation took place in conjunction with enforcement operations in Mexico, Canada, China, Belgium, Australia, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, and Thailand.
“I am pleased that the Western District of Missouri could play an integral role in the largest steroid enforcement action in U.S. history,” Wood said. “This case underscores the scope of the problem of dangerous performance-enhancing drugs that are being processed in crude, homemade labs and distributed with no regulatory safeguards.”
Since Operation Raw Deal began in December 2005, 143 federal search warrants have been executed on targets nationwide, resulting in 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, three boats, 27 pill presses, and 71 weapons. Enforcement activity took place in 27 states. Approximately 50 people were arrested and 61 federal search warrants were executed on targets nationwide during the operation's final takedown, which began on Sept. 14, 2007.
Operation Raw Deal is a four-prong strategy focusing on raw material manufacturers/suppliers in China and other countries; underground anabolic laboratories in the United States, Canada and Mexico; numerous U.S.-based websites distributing materials, or conversion kits, necessary to convert raw steroid powders into finished product; and Internet bodybuilding discussion boards that are the catalysts for individuals to learn how to illicitly use, locate and discreetly purchase performance-enhancing drugs, including anabolic steroids. Many of the underground steroids labs targeted in this operation advertise and are endorsed on these message boards.
The related investigation in the Western District of Missouri is called Operation Juice Box.
US v. Wilson, et al
Bryan Greggory Wilson, 38, of Kansas City, Mo., formerly of Columbia, Mo., and April Dawn Wilson, 32, of Columbia, were charged in a two-count federal indictment returned today by a federal grand jury in Jefferson City.
Today’s indictment alleges that Bryan and April Wilson, who were formerly married, participated in a conspiracy to distribute anabolic steroids from as early as 2003 to Sept. 15, 2007. According to the indictment, they ordered steroid powders over the Internet from sources within China and made payments by Western Union wire transfers to their sources in China.
Bryan Wilson allegedly converted the raw steroid powder to pill and liquid form at locations in Boone County, Mo., and Clay County, Mo. According to the indictment, he operated under the names Pro Pharm, Pro Pharm Labs and Palmco, Inc. Bryan and April Wilson allegedly used the U.S. Postal Service and other package delivery service providers in Boone County and Clay County to acquire and distribute ! anabolic steroids throughout the United States. The indictment cites a number of acts committed in furtherance of the conspiracy, including dozens of packages mailed out from a post office in Columbia by both Bryan and April Wilson. On Sept. 15, 2007, the indictment says, Bryan Wilson accepted a box at a UPS Store in Columbia that contained approximately one kilogram of a purported steroid powder, which had been shipped from an address in China.
The indictment also alleges that Bryan and April Wilson received shipments containing laboratory equipment and supplies, which can be used to convert the steroid powder to pill and liquid form for distribution.
In addition to the conspiracy charge, Bryan Wilson is charged with one count of distributing anabolic steroids.
Following Bryan Wilson's arrest, law enforcement officers seized two 200-pound pill presses along with other laboratory equipment from his Kansas City-North residence, as well as $60,000 in cash.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Larry Miller. It was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, IRS-Criminal Investigation, the Columbia, Mo., Police Department, the Missouri State Highway Patrol and MUSTANG (the Mid-Missouri United Strike Team and Narcotics Group).
US v. Varner
Jason Varner, 33, of Jefferson City, Mo., was charged with possession with the intent to distribute anabolic steroids in a federal criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Jefferson City on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2007.
According to an affidavit filed in support of the federal criminal complaint, Varner had ordered approximately $10,000 worth of anabolic steroids from a cooperating source who is not named in the affidavit. Half of that order had already been delivered, the affidavit says, and the cooperating source made arrangements to meet Varner at a commuter parking lot in Boone County, Mo., to deliver a portion of the remaining order.
The cooperating source had earlier mailed packages of anabolic steroids to customers in Illinois and Kentucky, the affidavit says. Law enforcement officers intercepted those packages, and used those vials to make the controlled delivery to Varner. Varner arrived at the commuter parking lot on Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2007, and parked his vehicle next to the vehicle driven by the cooperating source. According to the affidavit, the cooperating source placed the vials of anabolic steroids in Varner’s vehicle, and Varner was arrested as he began to leave the parking lot.
During a later search of Varner’s residence, law enforcement officers found 44 vials of anabolic steroids.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Larry Miller. It was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
US v. Schrage
Mikal Gunn Schrage, 28, of Nixa, Mo., was charged with possession with the intent to distribute anabolic steroids in a federal criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Springfield, Mo., on Sept. 19, 2007.
According to an affidavit filed in support of the federal criminal complaint, Schrage was arrested on an outstanding warrant by a Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper on Sept. 1, 2007, during a traffic stop in Greene County, Mo. The law enforcement officer discovered five pounds of anabolic steroids in raw white powder form, contained in packages that had been shipped from China, as well as at least 10,000 ml of liquid anabolic steroids. In addition to the steroids, the officer found counterfeit Spanish-language labels, boxes and holograms purportedly for Powerline brand steroids.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Oliver. It was investigated by the FDA Office of Criminal Investigations, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Nixa, Mo., Police Department.
Wood cautioned that the charges contained in the indictment and complaints are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.