By Ted Sherman/The Star-Ledger
NEW YORK — The brown paper package from China, sent by a company called Trendy Cosmetics, was addressed to a guy in Louisiana.
Inside was a box with an assortment of small colored bottles that looked like bath oil samples — except that some were labeled "methandrostenolone," an anabolic steroid popular with body builders.
"A needle in a haystack," remarked Wilfred Rivera, U.S. Customs and Border Protection branch chief at the International Mail Facility at John F. Kennedy International Airport. "We get 700,000 international parcels a day that we’re screening. Finding this is really like looking for a needle in a haystack."
When federal agents arrested an Edison personal trainer last month dealing steroids to buyers across the country, it opened a window on the pipeline to China — which has become a major supplier for black market performance enhancing drugs in this country.
Stoked by high demand, and fed by the relative anonymity of internet sales, the illicit sale of steroids is a booming business in the United States. And federal authorities acknowledge a lot of it gets through — most of it, they say, now being shipped from suppliers like "Trendy Cosmetics."