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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


JOHN F. WOOD


Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html


JULY 18, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


OPERATION RAW DEAL


OPERATION JUICE BOX


NIXA MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO $180,000 STEROID CONSPIRACY


STEROIDS SMUGGLED FROM CHINA, SOLD ONLINE


            SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Nixa, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to his role in a $180,000 conspiracy to smuggle anabolic steroids from the Peoples Republic of China and sell them over the Internet to customers in the United States, as well as to a related money-laundering conspiracy.


             Today’s guilty plea is the result of Operation Raw Deal, an international investigation targeting the illegal manufacturing and trafficking of anabolic steroids and its raw materials, mainly from China. The related investigation in the Western District of Missouri is called Operation Juice Box. The U.S. operation took place in conjunction with enforcement operations in Mexico, Canada, China, Belgium, Australia, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, and Thailand.


             Mikal Gunn Schrage, 29, of Nixa, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge James C. England this morning to the charges contained in an Oct. 3, 2007, federal indictment.


             By pleading guilty today, Schrage admitted that he participated in a conspiracy to import anabolic steroids from the Peoples Republic of China between Nov. 1, 2004, and Sept. 20, 2007. Schrage placed numerous orders via e-mail for anabolic steroids in raw form, using fictitious names to send wire transfers to his Chinese suppliers. Shrage then manufactured the raw form into anabolic steroids that he sold over the Internet and shipped to customers throughout the United States.


             Schrage also admitted that he dispensed misbranded prescription drugs (anabolic steroids) without the prescription of a licensed practitioner. On June 15, 2007, an undercover law enforcement officer purchased steroids from a Phoenix, Ariz.-area steroid broker that were shipped by Schrage from Springfield, Mo. The anabolic steroids were labeled in the Spanish language in violation of federal requirements that all prescription medication be labeled in the English language. No instructions for use were located on the labels of the product. Schrage dispensed these anabolic steroids to the steroid broker without determining that the customer had a valid physician’s prescription for this prescription drug.


             Schrage also pleaded guilty to a money-laundering conspiracy. Schrage admitted that he conducted financial transactions that involved the proceeds of criminal activity with the intent to promote the unlawful distribution of anabolic steroids. Schrage also admitted that he conducted financial transactions involving the proceeds of criminal activity, which were designed to conceal the nature and ownership of those proceeds.


             Schrage caused multiple Western Union wire transfers totaling nearly $83,000 to be made as payment for more than 32 kilograms of anabolic steroids shipped from the Peoples Republic of China between Feb. 28, 2005, and March 26, 2007.


             Schrage was arrested on an outstanding warrant by a Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper on Sept. 1, 2007, during a traffic stop in Greene County, Mo. While searching Schrage’s vehicle, the law enforcement officer discovered five pounds of anabolic steroids in raw white powder form, contained in packages that had been shipped from China, as well as at least 10,000 ml of liquid anabolic steroids. In addition to the steroids, the officer found counterfeit Spanish-language labels, boxes and holograms of Mexican steroids (Powerline brand) that all appeared to be counterfeit.


             By pleading guilty today, Schrage agreed to forfeit to the government any property used to commit the offenses and any property obtained from the proceeds of the offenses, including $180,195 that was received in exchange for the distribution of anabolic steroids, Schrage’s equity ($46,230) in the residence at 1173 Marble Drive, Nixa, a 2002 Cadillac Escalade, $36,701 that was seized from Schrage by law enforcement officers and $9,370 that was seized from a bank account.


            Under federal statutes, Schrage could be subject to a sentence of 28 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $1 million. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.


            This case is being prosecuted by Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Oliver. It was investigated by the FDA Office of Criminal Investigations, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Nixa, Mo., Police Department.


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This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html