In a recent development, the leader of an international steroids distribution scheme, James Charles Rivera, has been sentenced to eight years in prison. Rivera, who operated under the alias “JuicePal” on the dark web, orchestrated the distribution of steroids in multiple countries, including the United States, Canada, Germany, Australia, and the United Kingdom. Utilizing encrypted communications and internet-access methods, he managed to evade detection as he raked in millions of dollars in virtual currency and cash from thousands of sales. This significant arrest serves as a testament to the collaborative efforts of law enforcement agencies in dismantling global illicit operations.
Summary of the Case
Defendant and Charges
James Charles Rivera, a United States citizen from New York, was sentenced to 96 months in prison for leading an international steroids distribution scheme. He was charged with drug trafficking conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy.
Key Agencies Involved
The investigation and dismantlement of the scheme involved collaboration between Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Details of the Scheme
Rivera operated under the moniker “JuicePal” on the dark web and directed the distribution of steroids in the United States, Canada, Germany, Australia, the United Kingdom, and countries in the European Union from 2018 to 2021. He used encrypted communications and internet-access methods to avoid detection and generated millions of dollars in virtual currency and cash from thousands of sales.
Use of Dark Web and Encryption
To operate covertly, Rivera utilized the dark web, which allowed him to establish an underground marketplace for distributing steroids. He also employed encryption technologies to secure his communications and prevent law enforcement agencies from intercepting and decoding his messages.
Rivera worked with several co-conspirators in the United States who manufactured steroids, shipped them to customers, received cash payments, and forwarded the proceeds to him. This network of individuals played a crucial role in facilitating his operation on both a national and international scale.
Investigation and Arrest
Collaboration with Federal Partners
This investigation involved close collaboration between HSI, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. These agencies pooled their resources, expertise, and investigative techniques to uncover the extent of Rivera’s operation and gather the evidence needed for prosecution.
Dismantlement of U.S. and British Networks
As a result of the investigation, both the known U.S. and British networks of operation were dismantled. The collaborative efforts of multiple federal partners were instrumental in bringing an end to this illicit activity and ensuring the scheme’s global reach was disrupted.
Sentencing and Impact
Prison Sentence and Fine
James Charles Rivera was sentenced to 96 months in prison for his leadership role in the international steroids distribution scheme. In addition to his prison term, he may also be required to pay a fine of up to $500,000.
International Scope of the Scheme
Rivera’s operation spanned multiple countries, including the United States, Canada, Germany, Australia, the United Kingdom, and countries in the European Union. The impact of his scheme extended beyond national borders, making it a matter of international concern.
Protecting Communities and Postal System
By dismantling this distribution scheme, law enforcement agencies aimed to protect communities from the harmful effects of illicit steroids. Additionally, the involvement of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service highlights the importance of safeguarding the postal system from the distribution of dangerous drugs and counterfeit substances.
Prosecution and Legal Process
Assistant U.S. Attorney Owen Roth handled the prosecution of this case. His expertise in drug trafficking cases and his dedication to pursuing justice played a vital role in securing a successful outcome.
Charges and Maximum Penalties
James Charles Rivera was charged with drug trafficking conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy. The maximum penalties for these charges are ten years in prison and a $500,000 fine for drug trafficking conspiracy, and twenty years in prison and the greater of $500,000 or twice the amount of loss for money laundering conspiracy.
The investigation, prosecution, and dismantlement of James Charles Rivera’s international steroids distribution scheme highlight the effectiveness of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program. This partnership between federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies aims to identify, disrupt, dismantle, and prosecute high-level members of drug trafficking, weapons trafficking, and money laundering organizations and enterprises.
For more information about this case or to report any related information, please contact the Director of Media Relations, Kelly Thornton, at (619) 546-9726 or via email at Kelly.Thornton@usdoj.gov.
Similar Drug Trafficking Cases
For more information on similar drug trafficking cases and efforts to combat illicit drug distribution, refer to the following press releases:
- “MS-13 and Mexican Mafia Leader Sentenced to More than 17 Years for an International Drug Conspiracy”
- “Drug Trafficker Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison for Distributing Methamphetamine and Fentanyl”
- “Alleged Violent Cartel Enforcer Extradited from Mexico”
Southern District of California Information
Office Location and Contact Details
The main office of the Southern District of California is located at the Federal Office Building, 880 Front Street, Room 6293, San Diego, California 92101-8807. For broken links or technical issues, please email the webmaster. To report a crime, please visit the Action Center. Contact information for the office is as follows:
- Telephone: (619) 557-5610
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