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Press Release

Leader of International Steroids Distribution Scheme Sentenced to Eight Years in Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of California

NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – August 21, 2023

SAN DIEGO – James Charles Rivera of New York was sentenced in federal court today to 96 months in prison for leading a scheme to distribute steroids around the world and launder the substantial proceeds through cash and cryptocurrency.

According to admissions in his plea agreement, Rivera operated on the “dark web” with the moniker, “JuicePal.” He arranged and directed the distribution of steroids in nearly every state in the United States, as well as to Canada, Germany, Australia, and countries in the United Kingdom and the European Union from 2018 to 2021. He used encrypted communications and internet-access methods to avoid detection and took in millions of dollars in virtual currency and cash as proceeds from thousands of sales.

Rivera also worked with several co-conspirators in the United States, who were responsible for manufacturing steroids for him, shipping them to customers, receiving cash payments, and forwarding him proceeds. Rivera, a United States Citizen, ran this operation for years while living abroad.

“This defendant thought he could hide his international steroid distribution network and money laundering by operating on the dark web, but we have shined a bright light on his crimes,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Andrew Haden.

“This lengthy sentence is the result of an investigation into a complex global illicit counterfeit steroid production and distribution network that spanned several years, which concluded with the dismantlement of both the known U.S. and British networks of operation,” said Chad Plantz, Special Agent in Charge for HSI San Diego. “The egregious criminal conspiracy attempted to utilize encrypted communications, cryptocurrencies, and an elaborate network of co-conspirators to obfuscate operational activity in the U.S. and abroad. I thank the several federal partners that came together to support HSI, most notably U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Food and Drug Administration to dismantle these operations.” 

“The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is committed to identifying, investigating and disrupting these criminal organizations to protect our communities from the distribution of these dangerous drugs through our postal system,” said Carroll Harris, Postal Inspector in Charge of the Los Angeles Division.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U. S. Attorney Owen Roth. 

DEFENDANTS                                             Case Number 21-CR-3382 AJB                               

James Charles Rivera                                     Age: 32                                   New York


Drug Trafficking Conspiracy – Title 21, U.S.C., Sections 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(E), and 846

Maximum Penalties: Ten years in prison, and a $500,000 fine

Money Laundering Conspiracy – Title 18, U.S.C., Section 1956(h)

Maximum Penalties: Twenty years in prison, and the greater of $500,000 or twice the amount of loss


Homeland Security Investigations

U.S. Postal Inspection Service

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

This case is the result of ongoing efforts by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a partnership that brings together the combined expertise and unique abilities of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, dismantle, and prosecute high-level members of drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations and enterprises.


Director of Media Relations Kelly Thornton (619) 546-9726 or

Updated August 21, 2023

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: CAS23-0821-Rivera