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Nationwide steroid sweep includes arrest of one suspect in Las Vegas

The international crackdown on illegal steroids announced Monday included a local case.

Federal authorities arrested a man in Las Vegas last week for conspiring to import and sell anabolic steroids across the nation, the Drug Enforcement Administration stated.

DEA agents arrested Joshua Travis Phillips on Thursday and seized 170,000 doses of anabolic steroids, $10,000 and human growth hormone from his business, G.A. Labs, said Rusty Payne, spokesman for the DEA in Washington.

Authorities are charging Phillips with conspiring to import and sell anabolic steroids and conspiracy to launder money.

Phillips was arrested as part of “Operation Raw Deal,” a two-year federal investigation into the global steroid trade. Federal agents made 124 arrests and seized 56 steroid labs across the country, the DEA stated.

It was the largest crackdown on illegal steroid distribution in the history of the United States, according to the DEA.

Phillips and others are accused of buying steroid powder from China, manufacturing steroids and selling them through a Web site to users across the nation.

“Anybody who has access to the Internet could be a customer,” said Timothy Coughlin, an assistant U.S. Attorney in San Diego who is prosecuting Phillips.

Phillips and a Bosnian man named Goran Crnila operated the Web site, www.steroids superboard.com, an Internet forum with discussion boards promoting the use and distribution of steroids, according to a federal indictment.

Phillips and Crnila imported the anabolic steroids into the United States to a lab in Aberdeen, Wash., the indictment states. From there, the steroids were shipped to Las Vegas and then distributed though the mail, the according to the indictment.

Phillips is being extradited to face his charges in federal court in Southern California. His hearing there is slated for Oct. 17.

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