Sheriff, other agencies bust illegal ‘steroids’

Published 5:01 am Friday, March 2, 2018

Earlier this week, the Department of Homeland Security intercepted a package of illegal steroid powder and liquids shipped from China to a Washington Parish address through the United States Postal Service. The information was given to the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office, which crafted a plan to arrest the recipient of the illegal steroids, according to WPSO Chief Deputy Mike Haley.

Armed with a search warrant on Monday, the WPSO Drug Task Force, along with agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and United States Postal Inspectors, set up surveillance on a residence located at 52628 Perry Erwin Road in the Thomas community northeast of Franklinton. Once the package was delivered and received, officers entered the residence and arrested Brandon J. Prats, 31, the homeowner, Haley said.

Once inside, officers discovered a large illegal steroid operation, Haley said. Prats was reportedly receiving steroid shipments from overseas, using a pill press to convert the powder to pill form, packaging the liquid into injectable form, then shipping the pills and liquid injectables to customers.

Prats was placed in the Washington Parish Jail charged with possession with intent to distribute Schedule III drugs, twelve counts of distribution of Schedule III drugs, possession of controlled dangerous substances with weapons present, and possession of Schedule III drugs. In addition to the steroid seizure, officers also discovered marijuana when they entered the residence, Haley said.

Total seizures during the search warrant included:

  • 1,375.18 grams of powder steroids,
  • 2,140.9 grams of liquid steroids,
  • 107.56 grams of marijuana,
  • 6 grams of marijuana wax,
  • 1 Xanax pill,
  • 1 pill press,
  • 11 firearms,
  • $4,374 in U.S. currency,
  • hundreds of vials and toppers to package liquid steroid injections,
  • and thousands of custom labels to ship steroids.

Haley said that Prats was operating a sophisticated illegal steroid operation under the name of “Grunt Labs,: shipping the illegal steroids to various locations throughout the United States.

Prats’ bond was set at $50,000. He met the conditions of his bond and was released Tuesday.

This is an ongoing investigation involving all agencies and it is possible that more arrests may be forthcoming, Haley said.

“It is disturbing to know that a nationwide illegal steroid distribution system was operating in our parish,” Washington Parish Sheriff Randy Seal said. “I offer my heartfelt thanks to our Drug Task Force, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Department of Homeland Security and the United States Postal Inspectors for their outstanding work in this matter.”