The long arm of US law enforcement fails to get its hands on Axio Labs kingpin and his wife
The United States has been trying to catch the two main suspects involved in the operation of the underground steroid laboratory (UGL) known as Axio Labs for almost 9 years. To the chagrin of federal prosecutors, neither person will ever be tried in an American court.
Brian Wainstein and his ex-wife Shioban Hatton become two of the country’s most wanted international fugitives after they were indicted on steroid trafficking charges in 2010. They stood at the top of a steroid operation that allegedly earned them more than $8 million from 2004 and 2008.
The problem for federal prosecutors was that neither Wainstein or Hatton lived in the United States. Hatton was relatively easy to locate in the United Kingdom after arrests warrants were issued. But Wainstein proved somewhat more elusive.
Even with outstanding arrest warrants in the United States, Canada and Germany along with an appearance on INTERPOL’s “most wanted” list, Wainstein remained on the lam for several years until he was arrested in South Africa in January 2013.
The international arrests of Axio Labs’ Wainstein and Hatton were the easy part
Surprisingly, the international arrests of Wainstein and Hatton were the easy part for the long arm of U.S. law enforcement. The most difficult part involved securing the extradition of the two individuals from South Africa and the United Kingdom, respectively.
The United States has extradition treaties with both South Africa and the United Kingdom. Proscutors thought it was only a matter of time before the two countries turned over the suspects to U.S. Marshals. But the legal process takes a considerable amount of time. And anything could happen.
Wainstein immediately posted bail and was released shortly after his arrest. The steroid kingpin live in the lap of luxury at his fancy condominium in an exclusive Cape Town suburb for the next 4 years. The extradition proceedings were slow but his extradition seem guaranteed.
Wainstein thwarted the United States when he got himself murdered in a gang land dispute in August 2017. The United States was forced to dismiss its case against him due to the inconvenient fact that it couldn’t prosecute a dead man.
At least the U.S. still had Hatton in its cross-hairs. The UK government agreed to turn over Hatton to US law enforcement in 2015. Hatton was scheduled to surrender to authorities in October 2015.
Hatton foiled US prosecutors when she skipped bail and fled the country to Ireland. She forfeited the £250,000 bail posted by her brother and sister-in-law. However, this was a small price to pay to escape the grasps of the US government.
Hatton was promptly arrested when arrived in Dublin on an international arrest warrant. The United States also has an extradition treaty with Ireland. But the proceedings had to start all over again.
Hatton languished in an Irish jail for the next 3-1/2 years. US prosecutors fully expected Ireland to hand over Hatton at the conclusion of the extradition proceedings in October 2018.
Yet Hatton foiled them yet again. Ireland requires a psychological report for all suspects who are faced with extradition. Ireland High Court Justice Aileen Donnelly rejected the US extradition request based on the findings in the report.
Justice Donnelly concluded that it was not in the public interest to extradite Hatton. Hatton suffered from extenuating mental health issues after being incarcerated for most of the previous six years. Furthermore, the lengthy separation from Hatton’s young daughter had already cause serious harm to both the mother and child.
Hatton will never stand trial in the United States for her role in the Axio Labs organization.
This is an embarrassing blow for the United States in its war on steroids. Federal prosecutors secured the cooperation of seven individuals involved in Axio Labs. But the Axio Labs criminal case will always be judged by prosecutors’ failure to convict the its primary suspects. Wainstein and Hatton will always remain beyond their reach.