Thursday, May 27, 1999

Narcs warn against
ordering steroids by mail

By Jaymes K. Song


People are looking for everything on the Internet these days, from Beanie Babies to books and compact discs and even a bigger, stronger body.

Federal and state agents intercepted nine packages of anabolic steroids within the past month at the airport post office. The muscle-building drugs were all ordered by Oahu residents through the Internet.

Three arrests have been made, including a 24-year-old Navy corpsman arrested Tuesday at Aliamanu military housing. He was booked on possession of drug paraphernalia and three counts of first-degree promotion of a harmful drug.

U.S. Customs inspectors recovered a parcel from Thailand on May 20 addressed to the sailor and containing 300 tablets of steroids. The package was then delivered to the sailor's home by state and federal agents on Tuesday. About 200 additional pills and 20 liquid injections of steroids were recovered in his bedroom, police said.

"Once those drugs cross over our borders, they are controlled drugs," said Ed Howard, supervisory agent for the Narcotics Enforcement Division of the state Department of Public Safety. "When it comes in and we can tie you to it, we will vigorously pursue an investigation and prosecution."

A task force has been created with U.S. Customs, U.S. Postal inspectors and the state Department of Public Safety to crack down on incoming deliveries and orders.

The steroids are coming from countries such as Japan, Korea, South Africa, Thailand and Canada. A package was recovered yesterday from Paraguay, Howard said. In those countries, it is readily available. And in some, steroids can be purchased over the counter.

Officials believe the senders and Web site owners are drug dealers, not legitimate businesses. U.S. Customs is also working to crack down on those dealers.

Agents have identified a dozen Web sites that sell steroids.

Steroids can be purchased on the Internet for about $1 a pill. The pills have a street value in the United States of about $7 each.

Howard emphasized that buying steroids or any kind of controlled substances on the Internet is dangerous.

"It's a crap shoot," Howard said. "It's a real gamble."

At least two of the men busted for buying steroids, including a registered nurse, said they didn't know it was illegal to make the purchase.

"If you don't know it's illegal, why not see your doctor and get a prescription?" Howard said. "The bottom line is do not order controlled substances, such as anabolic steroids, on the Internet."

E-mail to City Desk

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
[Stylebook] [Feedback]

© 1999 Honolulu Star-Bulletin