PHOENIX - An investigation by the U.S. Department of Drug Enforcement uncovered 16 underground steroid conversion laboratories, four of which were allegedly being operated in Phoenix.
Operation Cyber Juice targeted labs that were manufacturing and trafficking steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs. The operation started in 2014.
In Phoenix, eight people were arrested and 150,000 dosage units of steroid product was seized; 121 pounds of raw steroid powder and 23.8 liters of raw steroid injectable liquid was also seized, as well as $285,955, eight vehicles and 16 weapons, according to the DEA.
“The quest for big muscles can mean big business. Criminals will exploit the desires of those seeking an advantage in physical performance or attaining a perfected physical form,” said Doug Coleman, special agent in charge, in a prepared statement.
Nationally, 30 similar investigations happened across 20 states and 16 labs were discovered. Ninety people were arrested, hundreds of thousands of dosage units of steroids were seized, as well as 636 kilograms of raw steroid powder; 8,200 liters of injectable liquid and over $2 million in cash and assets.
Last week, DEA agents raided a juice bar within an L.A. Fitness near 22nd and Northern avenues related to the investigation.
LA Fitness told ABC15 that the juice bar is a privately-owned business within its facility and that they are conducting their own investigation.
According to the DEA, these underground labs typically get their product and equipment from China via the internet. However, the Phoenix investigation uncovered sources in Lithuania and Moldova.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona will be prosecuting the case. The defendants face multiple counts including possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, conspiracy to import a controlled substance and conspiracy to commit money laundering.