By Jennifer Sullivan
"Operation Raw Deal" 124 arrested in nationwide
Mon Sep 24, 2007 18:27
 


124 arrested in nationwide steroid investigation; 4 from Aberdeen

By Jennifer Sullivan

Seattle Times staff reporter

The federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced today the results of what they consider the largest investigation into illegal steroids in U.S. history.

Among the 124 people arrested nationwide, four were caught in Western Washington.

Agents working as part of "Operation Raw Deal" arrested four people in Aberdeen on Thursday, said Rhett Fonseca, DEA spokesman. Other arrests were made in California, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Rhode Island, Missouri and Connecticut.

Investigators still plan to make another 19 arrests, according to a DEA news release.

Fonseca said that Ray Ross of Aberdeen "was receiving the steroids from China and distributing it to San Diego and other states."

Ross was charged federally with one count of conspiracy to import anabolic steroids, Fonseca said. His wife, Lesley Ross, was arrested for investigation of possession of human growth hormones, a state charge. The couple were arrested at their home, Fonseca said.

Also arrested in Aberdeen: Jeff Thompson, for investigation of attempt to destroy evidence, and Joshua Springer, for investigation of possession of steroids, who worked with the Rosses. Both face state charges, Fonseca said.

Operation Raw Deal focused on the global underground trade of anabolic steroids, human growth hormones and insulin growth factor. Investigators also looked into the underground trafficking of ancillary and counterfeit medications, the DEA said.

Agents targeted raw-material manufacturers and suppliers in China and other countries; underground anabolic laboratories in the United States, Canada and Mexico; and numerous U.S.-based Web sites distributing materials, or conversion kits, necessary to convert raw steroid powders into finished product.

Agents also examined Internet bodybuilding discussion boards where people can learn how to find, purchase and use performance-enhancing drugs, including anabolic steroids, the DEA said. Many of the underground steroids labs targeted in the case advertise and are endorsed on these message boards.

"Operation Raw Deal uncovered a clandestine web of international drug dealers who lurk on the Internet for young adults craving the artificial advantage of anabolic steroids," DEA Administrator Karen P. Tandy said in a news release.

Investigators closed down 56 steroid labs across the U.S. and seized $6.5 million, 25 vehicles, three boats, 27 pill presses and 71 weapons.

Agents in Aberdeen seized numerous steroid products, a new boat, firearms and about $4,330 in cash.

Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294 or jensullivan@seattletimes.com

Copyright 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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GOOGLE NEWS: STEROIDS

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