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Steroids Seized; Mail-Order Vitamin Salesman Arrested

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A mail-order vitamin salesman was arrested Saturday after more than 250,000 doses of anabolic steroids were seized from his home, authorities said.

Lawrence Woods was arrested on suspicion of possession of dangerous drugs and possession of dangerous drugs for sale, said Ventura County Sheriff’s Sgt. Gary Pentis.

Federal, state and local agents seized steroid capsules as well as powder when they raided Woods’ residence at 9:40 p.m. Friday, Pentis said. They also found a respirator, which is worn to protect chemists from hazardous substances, electronic scales, more than 800 empty medicine bottles, four automatic handguns and $30,000 in cash, Pentis said.

Authorities also found 27,600 tablets of an unknown substance and the anesthetic procaine, which is illegal without a prescription, Pentis said.

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Pentis said the seizure was the largest in Ventura County history and one of the biggest in the state.

Eleven representatives from the Sheriff’s Department, the Food and Drug Administration and the state Department of Health Services raided Woods’ residence.

His cook and maid, the only people present at the house, were interviewed and released after telling deputies that Woods, who markets his own line of vitamins through magazines, was out of town.

But Woods returned to the residence sometime after detectives completed their inventory of the house Saturday, Pentis said. After deputies ascertained he was in the house, Woods was arrested without incident at about 7 p.m. and was scheduled to be taken to the East Valley Jail in Thousand Oaks, Pentis said.

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Non-medical use of anabolic steroids is illegal. However, athletes sometimes use the drugs to increase muscle mass, strength and training capacity. The drugs--synthetic derivatives of the male hormone testosterone--have been linked to numerous health problems, including sterility, increased cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, liver damage, increased irritability and even violent behavior.


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