Chris Caplinger thought he start an illegal steroid lab following his retirement from the Edmond Police Department
Chris Caplinger admitted to being the man behind the popular underground lab known as Vis Vires Labs. Caplinger pleaded guilty to manufacturing anabolic steroids and money laundering in federal court on November 1, 2018.
Caplinger was a former cop with Edmond Police Department (EPD) in Oklahoma for 20 years. He retired from the EPD in September 2004.
Caplinger apparently thought he could outsmart police investigators by using the knowledge and experience involving drug investigations he acquired during his career as a cop. He knew how the cops operated to bring down drug dealers. And he knew how to avoid the attention of law enforcement. Or so he thought.
Caplinger had been doing very well with Vis Vires Labs. Vis Vires had a wide selection of anabolic steroid products and ancillary bodybuilding drugs. Customer service was good. And customers were happy with the results obtained from Vis Vires products.
Vis Vires Labs took several security precautions intended to outsmart police
Caplinger “hired” at least seven employees to work with the Vis Vires Labs steroid trafficking organization. The employees generally had limited roles. And each role was intended to provide an extra layer of security insulating Caplinger from being caught.
For example, Caplinger paid a guy in North Carolina to receive international shipments of steroid powder from China. The man would take possession of the product and reship it to Caplinger. He hired other employees to set up PayPal and Google Pay accounts to receive customer payments. Other employees were hired to open up multiple post office boxes under fictitious names. At least one employee helped Caplinger launder money through various bank accounts. And of course, there were the reps on the internet forums marketing Vis Vires to bodybuilders.
Caplinger may have thought these precautions made him bulletproof. But he was wrong. Caplinger received a rude awakening on the morning of November 29, 2017. Armed federal agents raided his Edmond home and a commercial office for “Boss Auto Sales”. The gig was up.
Caplinger had been targeted in an investigation led by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) that involved quite a few other federal, state and local agencies including the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Edmond Police Department.
Police found out that Boss Auto Sales was just a front for the clandestine laboratory used by Caplinger to manufacture anabolic steroids. The commercial office was full of laboratory equipment, pill presses and raw steroid powders.
Police didn’t find a lot of steroids at Caplinger’s home. But somehow they discovered a huge stash of cash that was secretly buried in Caplinger’s backyard. The amount of cash added up to approximately $280,000.
A grand jury indicted Caplinger and three of his co-conspirators on 23 counts related to the operation of Vis Vires Labs on March 20, 2018. Four co-conspirators were never charged by federal prosecutors.
Caplinger and his three indicted co-conspirators have all pleaded guilty to some of the charges. They are scheduled to be sentenced by the end of January 2019.
Caplinger could very well receive substantial jail time because he is already a convicted felon. In 2009, Caplinger was convicted of conspiracy and bribing a peace officer while working as a private investigator following his retirement from the Edmond Police Department. He served three years probation.