Operation Sledge Hammer dismantled one of the largest anabolic steroid networks in European history. The Austrian Federal Criminal Office (BK) have reported the seizure of 2,000 kilogram of anabolic steroids and performance-enhancing drugs and over 6 million units that resulted in over 25 arrests in Germany and Austria. Operation Sledge-Hammer led the arrest of the principals behind International Pharmaceuticals Europe (IP-Europe) as well as a major internet distributor of various underground labs (UGLs) (‘”Operation “Sledge-Hammer” und “International Pharmaceuticals“‘, February 1).
Austrian citizen “Karl G.” was arrested for allegedly distributing anabolic steroids through the following internet ecommerce websites: anabolika.com, sledge-hammer.com, sledge-hammer.us and pharm-tec.com. “Karl G.” allegedly sold steroids carrying the following UGL labels: IP-Europe, Alpha-Pharma, Dutchlab and Cebu-Pharma.
The Austrian led investigation resulted in the take down of the popular underground lab International Pharmaceuticals Europe (IP-Europe). Austrian nationals “Thomas St.” and “Paul R.” and German national “Lothar H” were arrested in connection with IP-Europe.
IP-Europe has been in operation for almost 20 years. German investigators unsuccessfully tried to shutdown the operation seven years ago. The latest investigation originated with several steroid raids at various Austrian gyms in November 2009. Police utilized these informants to infiltrate the organization and assist with an undercover investigation that led to the arrest of the alleged operators of IP-Europe.
“Paul R.” and “Lothar H” are purportedly the authors of the popular German-language steroid handbook entitled “Anabole Steroide – Das Schwarze Buch” (“Anabolic Steroids – The Black Book”).
The Operation “Sledge-Hammer” and “International Pharmaceuticals” police raids and seizures involved storage and distribution facilities. The companies and/or laboratories that actually manufacture the steroid products for these UGLs are thought to be in Eastern Europe, China, and/or India. They presumably remain in operation.