Back in September the Drug Enforcement Agency announced an action dubbed "Operation Cyber Juice" involving the bust of a handful of underground labs compounding imported raw anabolic steroid materials into oral and injectable preparations suitable for end users. Also busted were a number of distributors including persons dealing steroids at a LA Fitness club Franchise and at a Juice bar (archived). At least as interesting though, not very surprising is the number of underground labs and clearnet internet vendors who were not busted despite publicly declaring a presence in the United States.
Endemic use of anabolic steroids by law enforcement officers in the United States at all levels has been documented to be the status quo since at least a 1991 report by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (archived). This is with anabolic steroids being classified at schedule III by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration alongside Lysergic Acid, a number of amphetamines and barbiturates, ketamine1 and ahead of the entire class benzodiazepines which have become a leading drug of abuse in their own right with Darknet vendor arrests routinely trumpeting seizures of Alprazolam2. There actually seems to be a serious discrepancy in the effort expended to pursue drugs drugs sales with broad medical uses traded on darknet markets compare to anabolic steroids with niche medical uses3 traded on the clearnet.
Consider the example of one of the prize catches the DEA managed in "Operation Cyber Juice" and how they are described by a different vendor which was seemingly not busted on Reddit:
How in the world Hulk lasted this long is beyond me. I thought he was going to be down 18 months ago. Frankly from all the consistent infection complaints I doubt the gear was even filtered – at least during certain time periods. His products were good, from what I heard never used them, before he seemed to stop caring. "Wolf of eroids" he called himself, the ego really took hold.
When you do that kind of volume filtering take too much time for some I guess… people may think I'm just talking shit but rest assured – unfiltered gear is more common than you may realize. Not on SST with our small time labs/homebrew sources of course, but in the big leagues.
Still, never want to see anyone locked up for selling AAS of all things…. an absolute travesty =/
This busted supplier was identified as an underground compounding lab that referred to itself as "hulkbody." They left a trail of scorned customers bringing complaints of injection site infections due to unfiltered and insufficiently sterile injectable products compounded4 in their lab. The hulkbody bust was confirmed by multiple reports identifying labelled vials of their injectable products on a number of independent internet forums.
The substantial popularity of anabolic steroids among law enforcement personnel and the reported quality of "hulkbody" products suggests that selling anabolic steroids alone was not the major reason for hulkbody to be targeted for a bust. The reported low quality of "hulkbody" product and size of "hulkbody" compared to other underground labs suggests their product injured some law enforcement officers. It is possible that Operation Cyber Juice was not targeted towards ventures merely selling controlled substances, but targeted towards vendors who injured law enforcement officers with carelessly compounded products.
A rare case of prosecution of a law enforcement officer came out of Richmond county Georgia in November 2014 (archived). A single officer, 32 year old Brandon Paquette was arrested for possession of anabolic steroids, with the resignation of other officers known to Paquette following. Narratives followed involving officers and events named back to 2004. Brandon's brother Cameron "Ryan" Paquette faced charges for:
making threats over the phone that he would bash in the head of Richmond County narcotics Investigator Joel Danko and sexually assault his wife. The Paquette brothers are also the brother of Patrick Paquette, a Greene County narcotics officer who works as a reserve deputy for Richmond County.
These familial relations making it clear that the use of controlled anabolic steroids by United States law enforcement extends even to those officers charged specifically with handling the investigation of commerce in controlled substances and drugs of abuse. One of the related resignations came from a Deputy Mike Swint who was an 11 year veteran of the force with 4 years of service specifically targeted towards thwarting the commerce in drugs.
To be continued in Part 2
They use the shit on horses along with the anabolic steroid boldenone, trade name Equipoise and convenient internet abbreviation EQ ↩
Trade name Xanax ↩
largely muscle wasting complications related to AIDS, Cancer, or still more niche diseases ↩
Because this is exactly what these underground labs were doing, there were not doing the smelly business of synthesizing anabolic steroids. They were taking raw concentrated powder and liquids of the active ingredients imported most frequently now from China and India and preparing them for human consumption. The active anabolic steroid molecules made it though United States customs already, in contrast to methamphetamine labs synthesizing active drug product from precursors. These labs were taking already pharmaceutically active controlled substances and simply taking raw active ingredient and packaging it for consumers ↩