Steroids for crypto: ‘JuicePal’ sentenced to 8 years behind bars

A New York-based drug dealer who used crypto to launder millions of dollars from an illegal steroid distribution operation has received an eight-year prison sentence, the Department of Justice (DoJ) has announced.  

Thirty-two-year-old James Charles Rivera, known on the dark web as “JuicePal,” distributed illicit steroids in almost every state in the US. He also sold to customers from the UK, Canada, Germany, Australia, and countries across the European Union.

Rivera, who was based abroad, ran his operation between 2018 and 2021 alongside several co-conspirators who helped him to produce the drugs, ship them to customers, and move the proceeds. He reportedly made millions.

Read more: Centralized crypto exchanges used to buy $32M in fentanyl precursors: Elliptic

As described by Chad Plantz, a special agent in charge of homeland security investigations in San Diego, “The egregious criminal conspiracy attempted to utilize encrypted communications, cryptocurrencies, and an elaborate network of co-conspirators to obfuscate operational activity in the US and abroad.”

He added, “This lengthy sentence is the result of an investigation into a complex global illicit counterfeit steroid production and distribution network that spanned several years, which concluded with the dismantlement of both the known US and British networks of operation.”

The network was dismantled with help from the US Postal Inspection Service and Food and Drug Administration. Carroll Harris, the postal inspector of the Los Angeles Division said it is “committed to identifying, investigating and disrupting these criminal organizations to protect our communities from the distribution of these dangerous drugs through our postal system.” 

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