In the United States, the use of anabolic steroids is a highly regulated process. In accordance with all policies regarding using anabolic steroids, the importation of these drugs is highly illegal. While many individual users can get around the law when ordering a few injectable steroids or a couple of oral steroids, it is quite easy for steroid dealers to have their imports intercepted. The increased risk involved in smuggling steroids inspires many dealers to get a bit creative.
Stealth Mode: Smuggling Steroids
Introducing steroids into the United States is never an easy task. This secretive and illegal activity takes on new forms every day as dealers attempt to outsmart the law. When it coms to importing steroids into the United States, the best method to achieve this is by hiding the contraband within a package that would need to be examined already.
If the steroids are hidden well within the false front of the package, the United States Customs and Border Protection will examine what appears as a normal package and the steroids will go undetected. Following the clean inspection, the package will be resealed and sent to the intended destination.
These shipping techniques are used successfully time and time again until the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers catch on to them. No one may know how many illegal drugs and steroids have been imported in a similar “stealth” technique. Often times, authorities will catch on because the suppliers and customers share the information, bragging about how they outwitted law enforcement officials on internet forums. Many times, however, the law enforcement officials can tell when something about a package is not quite right and will investigate until the steroids or illegal drugs are uncovered.
Automotive Brake Pads
In the case of one particular package of steroids, the authorities caught on right away to something being awry. CBP agents in Port Huron at the checkpoint at Blue Water Bridge investigated a particular kind of stealth steroid package on the 18th of January 2017. A package originating in Canada immediately set off alarms to the agents, as most imports of this nature arrive from Europe or Asia. In the package’s manifest, the contents were listed as containing “automotive brake pads”.
As the agents continued to investigate, the package quickly turned into something more sinister. The automotive brake pads were really just a cover for 70 unmarked vials containing a strange yellow liquid. These vials were enclosed in bubble wrap and then covered by aluminium foil. As the agents continued the investigation, a field test was conducted using a specific colorimetric testing technique. Following the inconclusive test, the vials were submitted to the CBP Laboratories and Scientific Services department. The vials then underwent an advanced analytical lab test. This test ultimately revealed the vials to be anabolic steroids.
The reason this particular package was so easily discovered was the fact that the vials themselves were not actually hidden. The manifest was merely mislabeled as “Automotive Brake Pads”, while its actual contents were poorly hidden vials.
Protecting the Borders
While dealers and users continue to get creative, agents are fighting back in their war on steroids. As customs agents work to intercept all illegal contraband and stop potential threats to the country’s wellbeing, steroid use remains an important part of their workload. Protecting the country’s border comes in many forms and intercepting narcotics is one of them.
While stopping steroid use may seem to pale in comparison to the bigger threats of terrorism and hard crime, it is important to acknowledge that putting an end to smaller threats like anabolic steroid trafficking is a win in the war on crime and terror everywhere.