If you thought the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was a law enforcement agency in charge of combating drug smuggling and drug use solely within the United States, you would only be partially correct. In fact, the DEA is also tasked with the job of coordinating and pursuing drug investigations around the world including those involving anabolic steroids and performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs).
And if you thought the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was a morally-driven agency in charge of conducting drug testing and coordinating the fight against steroids solely within sport, you would also only be partially correct. WADA is also tasked with the job of pursuing steroid investigations around the world and outside of sports in conjunction with various law enforcement agencies including the DEA.
On Septemer 1, 2015, the DEA released a press release in which its partnership with WADA and the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) was made official. WADA and USADA are interested in promoting a certain vision of morality in sports and now they are working with the U.S. government to place those immoral people in jail who violate their code.
In the U.S. and abroad, the DEA is working side-by-side with anti-doping moralists to shut down UGLs that manufacture anabolic steroids. The DEA issued a press release announcing the results of “Operation Cyber Juice” which involved over 30 investigations in 20 states and resulted in the shutdown of 16 domestic UGLs since 2014.
The series of busts over the preceding several months comprising Operation Cyber Juice resulted in the arrest of over 90 people who were involved in the operation and distribution of UGL steroids. The feds seized approximately 134,000 dosage units, 636 kilograms of raw steroid powder, 8,200 liters of unbottled injectable steroid solution and more than $2 million in hard U.S. currency.
The DEA press release justified its cooperation with the morality-in-sports-guardians by including quotes from USADA CEO Travis Tygart and WADA Director General David Howman.
“In the global fight against dangerous performance-enhancing drugs, collaboration between anti-doping organizations and law enforcement is vital,” said Tygart. “This joint investigation again demonstrates that we can work together to identify and hold accountable underground steroid suppliers and users who are committing crimes and who may also be cheating clean athletes and sport. The actions taken today will help to ensure that all athletes are safer and any young athletes who are pressured to use these drugs to win in sport are not preyed upon by illegal drug dealers.”
Howman also celebrated WADA’s ability to keep steroids out of “the hands of athletes looking for an edge” thanks to its partnership with the DEA.
“By partnering with USADA and the DEA in this major steroid operation, WADA has been able to prevent potentially harmful steroid substances from getting into the hands of athletes looking for an edge. This is a good example of anti-doping and law enforcement working well together to further their own efforts of reducing doping and protecting public health.”
In Europe, the DEA was equally as active in its efforts to shut down steroid UGLs in an investigation codenamed “Operation Underground”. Operation Underground took place in conjunction with Operation Cyber Juice in the U.S. The DEA-led investigation again partnered with WADA as well as Europol. The DEA, WADA and Europol worked closely with its law enforcement partners in Cyprus, Italy, Belgium and Iceland to shut down a major UGL operating out of Iceland.
The Icelandic bust resulted in the arrest of nine individuals and the seizure of substantial quantities of steroids and paraphernalia consistent with the operation of a covert UGL in the greater Reykjavik area. No other UGLs were busted in Europe but apparently the “Operation Underground” investigation resulted in actionable intelligence for its participant law enforcement partners (and presumably WADA too).
Director of Europol Rob Wainwright praised its partnership with WADA and promised to continue working with the DEA and WADA in the future.
“This international law enforcement action was accomplished through the cooperation of multiple agencies committed to the single goal of identifying and dismantling a lucrative criminal enterprise,” Wainwright said. “Europol will continue its successful cooperation with the Drug Enforcement Administration and the World Doping Agency to eliminate this crime that spans across the globe and cyberspace”.
The use of government resources to promote WADA’s and USADA’s moral agenda should be troubling to taxpaying Americans. Apparently, the U.S. government is now in the business of preventing cheating in sports. And they have no reservations about openly advertising the fact.
“Throughout Operation Cyber Juice, DEA and its law enforcement partners worked closely with both USADA and WADA, receiving actionable intelligence that resulted in many of these investigations,” read the statement by the DEA. “This vision was to utilize law enforcement, anti-doping resources, and intelligence, to assist in furtherance of their respective efforts.”
DEA. (September 1, 2015). DEA Annnounces Major Steroid Operation. Retrieved from http://www.dea.gov/divisions/hq/2015/hq090115.shtml
Europol. (September 2, 2015). International law enforcement operation targets underground manufacture of anabolic steroids. Retrieved from https://www.europol.europa.eu/content/international-law-enforcement-operation-targets-underground-manufacture-anabolic-steroids