Australian Border Force (ABF) investigators have arrested and charged a 57-year-old Canadian citizen with importing approximately 10 kilograms of performance and image enhancing drugs (PIEDs) – steroids – without a permit.
Between 13 April and 5 May 2016, Australian Border Force (ABF) officers at the Sydney International Mail Centre intercepted 10 packages, which contained a total of 10 kilograms of PIEDs, including testosterone.
On 19 May, ABF investigators conducted warrant activity at a residential premise and a storage facility in Sydney locating more PIEDs, as well as substances and equipment that can be used in the manufacture of steroids.
The ABF charged the man with intentionally importing prohibited tier 1 goods, contrary to Section 233BAA(4) of the Customs Act 1901.
ABF Commander Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Anthony Seebach, said people convicted of importing steroids without a permit can face significant penalties including a maximum penalty of five year’s imprisonment or a fine not exceeding $180,000 or both.
“These drugs can have serious health impacts and the ABF is committed to protecting our community by stamping out this kind of criminal activity,” Commander Seebach said.
“If you import steroids or other performance and image enhancing drugs without a permit you’re breaking the law.
“The ABF is alert to attempts to import small amounts of PIEDs and other drugs through the mail and will target those who try to evade border detection in this way.”
The man was bailed to appear in Burwood Local Court on 9 June.
Anabolic and androgenic steroids can be produced naturally or derived from synthetic sources. Commercially produced steroids can be placed into three groups – those produced for human consumption, those for veterinary use and those produced illegally.
The drug is used to increase muscle bulk and strength and to enable longer and harder athletic training sessions. Some users take steroids for cosmetic (body image) reasons.
Steroids increase protein synthesis, promoting growth of muscles and bones. They reduce the recovery time needed between training sessions and enable athletes to train more intensively for longer periods.
Side effects of steroid use can include hair loss, liver problems, insomnia, acne, headaches, jaundice, hypertension and high cholesterol. Steroids can permanently stunt the growth of adolescents. Men who use steroids can experience shrinking testes, gynaecomastia (enlarged breasts) and prostate and fertility problems. Women can experience clitoral enlargement, shrinking breasts, permanent deepening of the voice, menstrual irregularities and growth of body and facial hair.
Psychological effects can include enhanced self-esteem and euphoria, but also increased aggression and irritability, mood swings, changes in libido, paranoia and depression. Psychological dependence on steroids is possible. Withdrawal symptoms include mood swings, severe depression, insomnia, lethargy, nausea, headaches and cravings.
Steroids may be injected intramuscularly, taken orally or rubbed on the skin as a cream.
The possession, use and supply of steroids, other than by prescription from a medical practitioner, dentist or veterinarian is illegal throughout Australia as is unauthorised importation.
The use of steroids by competitors in most sports is banned.
Steroid users generally fall within four categories – athletes for performance enhancement, body builders to increase muscle mass and definition, people within the security industry and adolescents for body image reasons.
Users may attempt to gain drugs by convincing a doctor to prescribe them, via mail order or the Internet from overseas, from veterinarians by supplying false information or from local dealers in gyms etc. There is some evidence that outlaw motorcycle gangs are involved in the dealing and distribution of steroids in this country.
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