Due to the lapse in appropriations, Department of Justice websites will not be regularly updated. The Department’s essential law enforcement and national security functions will continue. Please refer to the Department of Justice’s contingency plan for more information.

You are here

Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Danville Man Sentenced for Manufacturing and Distributing Illegal Dietary Supplements

Steven Donald Wood has forfeited $1.5 Million

ABINGDON, VIRGINIA – A Danville business owner, who manufactured and shipped illegal pro-hormones, designer steroids, throughout the United States, was sentenced today in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Abingdon.

Steven Donald Wood, 38, of Danville, Va., previously waived his right to be indicted and pled guilty to a one count Information charging him with illegally distributing misbranded drugs in interstate commerce.  United States District Judge James P. Jones granted the United States’ motion for a reduced sentence based on Wood’s extraordinary assistance in the investigation and prosecution of others and sentenced Wood to probation for a term of one year.  Judge Jones also ordered Wood to forfeit $1.5 million which had been paid prior to Wood pleading guilty and pay a fine of $10,000.  Since soon after his arrest in 2011, Wood has provided extensive cooperation in the United States’ investigation and prosecution of others in the pro-hormone business.

“The misbranding of drugs is a serious offense that puts those who ingest these substances in danger,” United States Attorney John P. Fishwick Jr. said today. “I am grateful to our law enforcement partners who continue to investigate the misbranding of these powerful steroids.”

“Dietary supplements that contain active pharmaceutical ingredients not approved by FDA present a serious health risk to those who take them,” said Mark S. McCormack, Special Agent in Charge, FDA Office of Criminal Investigation’s Metro Washington Field Office. “Our office will continue our vigilance and work to remove these dangerous drugs from the U.S. marketplace.”

Wood, through his business entities Competitive Edge Labs, LLC, and MKZ Exports, LLC, caused the manufacture and distribution of large amounts of dietary supplements, specifically “pro-hormones,” a new generation of steroids not specifically listed as an anabolic steroid under the Controlled Substances Act.  Wood obtained his raw powder from Xinli “Eric” Li, a Chinese national, who pleaded guilty in federal court in Abingdon on December 4, 2015.  Li forfeited $1.6 million and served five months in prison prior to being deported to China.

The dietary supplements were M-Drol and H-Drol.  M-Drol listed its single active ingredient as 2a, 17a di methyl etiocholan 3-one, 17b-ol, a chemical nomenclature for methasterone, also known as “Superdrol.”  In 2011, the FDA identified methasterone as a “designer steroid” or “designer drug”, a structural or functional analog of a controlled substance designed to mimic the pharmacological effects of the original drug.  H-Drol listed its single active ingredient as 4-chloro-17a-methyl-androst-1,4-diene-3-17b-diol, the nomenclature for a designer drug identified as halovar, a clone of halodrol.  Both products were deemed to be misbranded drugs because the label was false, that is, the product was labeled as a “dietary supplement” but contained a “steroid” or drug.  Therefore, neither product met the definition of a dietary supplement.  Both products were popular among those seeking an increase in muscle mass and loss of body fat and were distributed widely in the U.S. and overseas, both at retail stores and via the internet.  The use of anabolic steroids or dietary supplements that contain anabolic steroids or designer steroids may trigger numerous adverse health effects in the human body.

The investigation, known as Operation Grasshopper, continues into others in the United States who illegally manufactured pro-hormones.  Additional charges are anticipated.

The investigation is being conducted by the United States Food and Drug Administration – Office of Criminal Investigations.  The Pittsylvania County Sheriff’s Office and Pittsylvania County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office provided assistance in the case.  Assistant United States Attorney Randy Ramseyer and Special Assistant United States Attorney Kevin Jayne are prosecuting the case for the United States.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Updated May 17, 2016