United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut has announced that Michael D. Mase of Sherman has pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of conspiracy to distribute anabolic steroids.
Remember, back in May, eight people were arrested on federal steroid and prescription narcotic distribution charges, including Mase and Police Sgt. Santucci. This was part of a long term investigation named "Operation Juice Box." Interestingly, there was also a police dispatcher involved in the group.
Federal agents used wire and electronic surveillance for two months, and during the investigation they also uncovered steroids that were imported from China. In this scenario, anabolic steroid sellers usually import raws in bulk, and then use equipment to 'brew' steroid liquids to be distributed out of their own garage or bathroom. These setups are known as underground labs, and the products they produce are called "bathtub gear" because they are brewed under unsanitary conditions by amateurs who, in many cases, just started experimenting with brewing, and have zero experience in this arena.
It is estimated that a majority of the bodybuilding community members have used, or currently use, anabolic steroids. These compounds help them achieve their short and long term fitness goals. For instance, anabolic steroids help a user recover faster, grow more muscle, lose more fat, and build incredible amounts of strength they would not be able to accomplish naturally. Thus, there is a never ending demand for these products, and users will go to these underground labs, since they are cheaper and easy to acquire.
In this particular case, the eight individuals were arrested and charged with conspiracy to distribute and distribution of various controlled substances, including steroids and oxycodone (a very addictive pain killer). Mr. Santucci, who was the sergeant, was receiving the shipments since 2011 and would use his smartphone app to communicate with his customers. Michael Mase, who is a registered nurse and bodybuilder, would then re-sell his steroids to his own customers, and admitted that many of them were competitive bodybuilding athletes who participated in shows. As a result, he faces up to 10 years in prison.
Aside from the anabolic steroids and materials seized, federal agents also seized cocaine and weapons as well. In addition, all computers, smart phones and customers records were seized by the DEA for further investigation. Meanwhile, Mr. Mase will be sentenced in December by a judge.
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