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Mail-Order Muscles
Rick Telander
November 22, 1993
How big is the market for illegal bodybuilding drugs? Huge, says the author, who went on the trail of a steroid-selling scam
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November 22, 1993

Mail-order Muscles

How big is the market for illegal bodybuilding drugs? Huge, says the author, who went on the trail of a steroid-selling scam

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Who was their market?

"Americans," she said. "Young men. The Fullers and Murphy spent big bucks to get the subscriber lists from bodybuilding magazines and then sent out fliers. They had a rented postal meter that could send out 171 letters a minute. They had spent over $60,000 [Canadian] on postage. These fliers trickled down to high school associations, and in time Canada was perceived as a big steroid deliverer."

How did this go on so long?

"Complaints were minimal," Drummond said, and she added that most victims no doubt didn't want to take their folly public.

And did these guys make much money?

Drummond paused, then said, "Let me just say that a very conservative estimate of their take would be a million dollars." She paused again, and I read in her silence that the figure might be much higher. "However, we don't know where the money has gone. They've hidden it."

I called Toronto attorney Edmund Peterson, the lawyer for the Fuller brothers, and asked him if I could speak to one or both of his clients, who were out on bail. No dice, said Peterson when I called back a few days later. The brothers did not want to talk to me. "This is going to be a lengthy, drawn-out battle," Peterson concluded, speaking of his defense work.

Well, now what? Is there such a demand for dangerous, illegal, muscle-building drugs in this country that people would willingly throw their money down a rathole hoping to get some? Apparently. Arnold Schwarzenegger used steroids at one time. Former University of Oklahoma linebacker Brian Bosworth did too, and in 1987 he signed a 10-year, $11 million contract with the Seattle Seahawks after he had been caught using them. What sort of message does that send to kids? According to an article in U.S. News & World Report, 57% of teen steroid users said they were influenced to use the drugs by reading muscle magazines; 42% said they decided to use steroids because of the famous athletes they were certain were using the drugs.

In August I flew to Toronto to see if there was anything else to learn. Murphy was still in hiding. The court date for the Fullers would be chosen on Nov. 24.

I looked up a producer who works for CBC-TV in Toronto, a young man named Michael Turschic, who had jumped through some of the same journalistic hoops that I had on this affair. He had received a flier, ordered steroids, sent a check. But nothing had happened. He had gone to the post office where the con artists had a box, and he had staked it out for a while. "I saw one of the guys on the first day I went to the post office," said Turschic. "But I didn't take my car, so I couldn't follow him. He was a big guy."

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