LAURINBURG — Following a three-month investigation that involved law enforcement agencies from across the United States, authorities this weekend seized some major tools of an advanced underground steroid operation headquartered in Scotland County.
“This is a multi-state investigation and the majority of it led back to Scotland County,” said sheriff’s Lt. Jon Edwards.
According to Edwards and Sheriff Shep Jones, thousands of dollars in cash and liquid anabolic steroids and the raw materials used to create them, as well as male performance enhancement pills, were seized from a Scotland County home. Among the items, estimated by Edwards to be worth upwards of $75,000, were two machines capable of compacting raw powder into thousands of pills a minute.
“It was a very sophisticated operation,” Jones said.
No arrests have been made. Edwards said the operation kept extensive records of sales and purchases, making for a time-consuming investigation. The business, Edwards said, had the potential to bring in as much as $5,000 a day from Internet sales alone.
For Scotland deputies accustomed to dealing with street drugs, the seizure is a first of its kind.
“We are excited to know that we have a hold of someone manufacturing drugs at a residence,” Jones said. “It’s not regulated like it’s supposed to be. It’s really dangerous, you’re taking some stuff that you’re not sure of what exactly is in it.”
According to Jones, the products, sold under the moniker “Black Horse Labs,” were marketed locally via word of mouth and nationally over the Internet. Labels on pill bottles and liquid vials came complete with warnings against taking the drug without a prescription. Some of the raw materials have been traced back to China, including substances banned several years ago in the U.S. by the FDA.
“This was a very large operation,” Edwards said. “… You won’t see this kind of stuff around anywhere.”
“This is a big dent in the illegal steroid market.”