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DECEMBER 12, 2007

G's up, Bro's down

Operation Raw Deal examined

During the Depression, a peculiar breed of movies became very popular – the gangster movie. They glorified a life that was unattainable to most people, and ergo, were very sexy to the average person. The gangster typically operated outside the confines of the law, and as a reward for his actions usually lived a lavish life (alliteration unintentional).

Typically, at the end they also got killed.

This was all during the 30’s for the most part, but the genre survived into modern times with movies like “Scarface” and “Blow”.  But this also spawned another type of movie, kicked off by the film “G-Man” (starring James Cagney) which was about a “Government Man” (a slang term for any federal employee, but typically reserved for the FBI).

This new type of movie glorified the law-enforcement lifestyle and presented federal agents as unswerving and morally unshakable – later, J. Edgar Hoover (insert cross-dressing joke here ____________) took a heavy hand in using this genre to promote the ideal of G-Men being cast from this idealized (and highly stylized) mold.

In later years, television would follow suit with shows like “Dragnet” and even the shows based around criminals would soon be based on ….well….I suppose morally “good” criminals (“The Dukes of Haazard” and “The A-Team” being the best examples).

Now, we just get press releases from G-men, and their most recent one told us about “Operation raw Deal”.

This recent press release told us about an illicit underground web of steroid manufacturers, dealers, and buyers…all of whom operated on the internet – calling each other “bro” and openly talking about where they were buying their stash.

These bros, of course, were just asking to be caught.

The press release, of course, was eye-opening for the general public – but not to me. It served basically the same purpose as the old “G-Man” movie…it made the criminal lifestyle seem unappealing- or at least far less appealing than the life of an FBI agent.

Most of the underground labs that were arrested in Operation Raw Deal were owned and operated in mom and pop fashion by otherwise regular people. Some of them lived in nice houses, others lived in trailers, and (if you believe the press release) almost all of them had reasonably unsanitary manufacturing conditions.

Also, if you believe the press release, this was a major blow to the underground steroid market. I do happen to believe that, although, I happen to believe the article published by the NY Times slightly more, when they identified the bust as major – but the victory as momentary. I guess I should agree with that article at least slightly more considering I was quoted in it…

But the really eye opening thing to me came from reading the actual court records and indictments, not the actual press release. I read about a guy living in a trailer (a double-wide, naturally) who was a very “respected” underground among “bros”. I read about another guy who, before he went into being a steroid chemist, was working at Abercrombie. I wouldn’t buy clothing from someone working at that store, much less a vial of something to inject into myself.

And I read about another several people who were caught running underground labs who were also in possession of large quantities of both guns and narcotics. Perhaps this is just me, but I’d greatly prefer that my trailer-dwelling, Abercrombie-working, gun-toting steroid manufacturers not also be getting high while they’re making a vial of something meant to be put in another human being’s body.

Yeah, the underground took a huge hit with these busts, and I don’t think people are going to look at underground labs the same way ever again – but I don’t think that there will be a noticeable impact on the availability of steroids in the coming years. Although I do think there will be a noticeable increase in press releases…



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