During the Congressional steroids hearings, strident voices spoke out against 'wasting congressional time' investigating steroid and PED use in sports. Must be better things for the US Congress to do, rather than investigate a bunch of baseball players juicing up.
Where does the juice get squeezed? The mob distributes illegal steroids and PEDs. Illicit pharmaceutical manufacturers import the juice into the country. Corrupt police and law enforcement officers often become involved in illegal steroid distribution.
Should Congress concern itself with narcotics laws violations? Organized crime? Police corruption? Money laundering and tax evasion? Illicit drug manufacturing? Fraud? Or are these topics simply as waste of time and resources.
This story describes a huge steroids bust of a major importer of illicit drugs. Later, bloggers noted that one of the accused (Crawley) founded British Dragon -- a huge importer of illegal steroids. (thanks to Sal for the link; Anthony Roberts gets credit for the original discovery))
100 Drug Enforcement Administration (D.E.A.) officers, equipped with arrest warrants, in co-operation with Thai police, today arrested a British gang selling steroids illegally in Soi Chaiyapreuk, Pattaya and seized assets worth over Bt 20 million...
The police and D.E.A. officers, acting on arrest warrant no. 98/255, searched a two-storey house in Pattaya New City Village, Soi Chaiyapreuk , Jomtien Beach Road. The police later arrested Mr.Edwin Richard Crawley (44) a British national who lives in the house, which he had used as the centre of operations for his business. According to the police report, Mr. Edwin Richard Crawley originally opened a company called" Nutri Med. Co. Ltd." registered as an import-export company. However, police did not find any illegal items or incriminating evidence, only documents relating to the import and export of goods.
Interesting that the drug importer, was a member of 'high society'. The founder of 'Dragon' -- Crawley.
...police later arrested Mr.Ashley Vincent Livingston (45) British, and Mrs. Jirawan Livingston(38) , his wife, living at a house in Moo. 10, Soi Kow Noi, Pattaya Hill 1. According to the information police had received, they all belonged to the same gang, whose big boss was Edwin Richard Crawley...Thai police were originally notified by the D.E.A. that they had intercepted steroids, which had been delivered to America in plain envelopes and on investigation, discovered that the biggest operation was in Pattaya . Mr. Edwin (the big boss) had been importing steroids from China through the Internet and then forwarding them to USA and Europe. On receipt, customers would send money to his account in Thailand. Some of the goods were sent to Pattaya and repacked in dolls or fruit, to be sent to Europe by parcel or in plain envelopes. Mr. Ashley had been worked with Mr. Edwin as his assistant, finding customers for him. This operation had been running since 1999. It made him a millionaire, being able to afford to buy property in Pattaya worth Bt 20 million. Mr. Edwin was also a volunteer, helping charities in Pattaya, so he was well known among the high-society set. He is also the coach of a disabled weight lifting team, which has won many trophies.
Interesting that the bust sounds like "American Gansgster" (in the Orient), "The French Connection", "Traffic" and a million other movies about sleazy drug smugglers. Here is an bust of 1.3 tons of steroids and illicit drugs.
Since the 60s and 70s illicit steroid and PED smuggling parallels illicit narcotics and cocaine smuggling. Should Congress be concerned with the new smugglers blues? Of course. (more after the jump)
A federal judge described mob enforcer Vince "Big Vince" Filipelli as a "money maker for an organization that has a history of violence," before sentencing him to 66 months in prison yesterday on an extortion charge.
U.S. District Court Judge Noel Hillman imposed the sentence following a three-hour hearing in federal court in Camden, during which Filipelli said he accepted responsibility for what he had done.
"I know what I did was wrong," the former professional bodybuilder said. "There's nobody to blame here but me."
Filipelli, 54, of Cherry Hill, pleaded guilty to the extortion charge in April after he was taped threatening to put a deadbeat gambler "in the hospital" if he did not come up with $13,000 he allegedly owed to a mob gambling operation.
The gambler was, in fact, a state police undercover investigator wearing a body wire.
The hearing yesterday was the fourth extended proceeding before Hillman, who throughout the process sought detailed explanations from the defense and prosecution on virtually every issue raised in the case.
In an impassioned argument, Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven D'Aguanno asked Hillman to sentence Filipelli at the high end of the sentencing guideline range of 57 to 71 months that applied in the case.
D'Aguanno, who has been involved in the prosecution of several prominent Philadelphia-South Jersey mobsters, including jailed mob boss Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino and several of his top associates, said Filipelli's actions epitomized the "above-the-law" attitude typical of organized crime figures.
"They think that they are their own little government. . . . That none of the laws apply to them," said the prosecutor, who urged Hillman to send a message to other mobsters by sentencing Filipelli to substantial jail time.
Filipelli has been identified as a "made" member of the Philadelphia mob and boasted about that on one of the tapes made in the extortion investigation.
In the 1990s, he served as a bodyguard and enforcer for mob boss John Stanfa. Arrested in 1994 along with Stanfa and 22 others, Filipelli pleaded guilty to a racketeering extortion charge two years later and was sentenced to 54 months in prison.
During a series of hearings before Hillman, and again yesterday, defense attorney Donald Manno argued that while his client had a history of involvement with the mob, the current case was not an organized crime extortion.
The tapes on which Filipelli threatened the state police undercover investigator and boasted that he was a member of the mob, Manno said, were an example of his client's "loud mouth, puffing, making himself into something he is not."
During a confrontation in the parking lot of a South Philadelphia strip club in which he first confronted the man he thought was a deadbeat gambler, Filipelli told him, "This ain't The Sopranos, this is real f-in' life."
In his comments to Hillman before sentencing, Filipelli said, "This was not an organized-crime case. This was me, Vincent Filipelli, trying to make money from gambling."
Filipelli still faces state charges in connection with the investigation.
The New Jersey State Police brought the FBI into the probe after Filipelli traveled from Cherry Hill to Philadelphia - across state lines - to confront the undercover agent.
At the time of his arrest in October 2006, Filipelli also was charged by state authorities with bookmaking and with drug and weapons offenses related to steroids and a stun gun found in his home.