Man gets two years for steroid smuggling

A Winnipeg man has been sentenced to two years in prison for an elaborate steroid smuggling operation that went undetected for nearly a decade.

Pavel Louda, 38, pleaded guilty to charges under the federal Custom's Act and was seeking a conditional sentence that allowed him to remain free in the community. Instead, he was hauled away in handcuffs Friday.

“Returning Mr. Louda to his home to serve this sentence would essentially be returning him to the scene of the crime,” said provincial court Judge Carena Roller.

Louda admitted to bringing in hundreds of shipments of anabolic steroids between 2001 and 2009, mostly from the Czech Republic. He set up numerous post office boxes under a variety of fake names and used several different Canadian ports of entry, court was told.

The drugs were then sold on the local black market to many of Louda's friends and associates.

“The mail-order steroid business is now a multimillion-dollar industry in North America,” Roller said Friday.

Louda was previously convicted in 2002 of steroid smuggling and was given 24 days in jail plus a $5,000 fine. He then applied for - and received - a federal pardon while continuing to break the law.

“He has proven himself to be very dedicated to his criminal enterprise,” said Roller.

The investigation began in 2007 when several packages containing small amounts of steroids were seized at the border, court was told. Investigators used a variety of techniques to catch Louda in the act, including surveillance of him regularly using a postal box at a Winnipeg store, meeting with various buyers and bank records which showed he made close to $200,000 in European wire transfers over the years.

Louda admits to being an avid health and fitness buff who was hooked on steroids himself but eventually stopped using and was simply selling to others for profit. His arrest was one of the first of its kind in Manitoba. Louda faced a maximum penalty of five years behind bars. The Crown had asked for a three-year sentence.

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/breakingnews/Man-gets-two-years-for-steroid-smuggling-158207065.html

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