Chicago-area man sentenced to 2 years in federal prison for producing steroid pills in his makeshift home lab

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CHICAGO — A Chicago-area man was sentenced Monday to two years in federal prison for manufacturing illegal steroids and distributing them to dozens of customers.

This sentence was announced by the following agency heads:  U.S. Attorney John R. Lausch Jr., Northern District of Illinois; Special Agent in Charge James M. Gibbons, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Chicago; Special Agent in Charge Dennis A. Wichern, Drug Enforcement Administration’s Chicago Field Division; and Inspector-in-Charge Craig Goldberg, U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Chicago.

Christopher C. Hickson, 25, used bulk powders he had imported from China to manufacture anabolic steroid pills. Hickson operated a makeshift laboratory in his Aurora, Illinois, residence and distributed the pills to more than 100 customers in the United States and Canada. 

The case against Hickson was part of “Operation Cyber Juice,” a federal investigation that targeted the illegal importation of steroids purchased overseas and manufactured in the United States.

Hickson previously pleaded guilty to one count of drug conspiracy and one count of money laundering.

In addition to the 24-month prison term, U.S. District Judge Andrea R. Wood on Dec. 11 also ordered Hickson to pay a $100,000 personal money judgment.

In October 2013, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents intercepted a Chinese parcel addressed to Hickson’s residence.  A laboratory analysis determined that the parcel contained about 436 grams of the powder Stanozolol, a steroid classified as a Schedule III controlled substance. 

A court-authorized search of Hickson’s home in November 2014 revealed steroid powder, more than 1,000 vials filled with liquid steroids, and hundreds of steroid pills and capsules.  Hickson labeled his steroid brand “Rift Labs” and “truelab.”

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