Interview with an Underground Chemist
By William Llewellyn
(Excerpt from the book UNDERGROUND ANABOLICS)
QUESTION: Let’s start with the basics. How long have you been an underground manufacturer?
ANSWER: I think it started in 1999.
QUESTION: What made you decide to get into the business?
ANSWER: Friends asked me how to manufacture oily solutions. I helped them, dug into it, started to experiment when I was unable to solve certain problems theoretically. I saw people in that UG lab earning big amounts of money without any risk or knowledge. They started to buy big cars etc. I knew I could do it better and started with a few friends our own lab.
QUESTION: How did you learn all the things you know about manufacturing? Do you have a chemistry background?
ANSWER: Yes, but as you know yourself that has only limited advantage. This is a very specialized field. There is an enormous amount of information/scientific research available. That’s why I admire people like Patrick Arnold that spend years reading all the old scientific material from the sixties, when giant pharmaceutical companies and scientists thought that steroids where the fountain of youth. It is not necessary to reinvent the wheel again. It’s there already.
QUESTION: How would you classify your operation? Big, small, medium-size?
ANSWER:: I scale it small.
Q: Tell us about the manufacturing room we saw. Was it expensive to build? Difficult?
ANSWER: I used materials that attract less dust. I created a system that sucked the air above the manufacturing area through a double carbon filter and blows the clean air through an last filter just above the floor. On the side of the table I have an air cleaner that also cleans the side air through seven carbon filters. Then I use an ionizer that makes leftover airborne particles sink down to the surface.
QUESTION: I noticed that there are many manual steps in your process. Do you have plans to expand your business with bigger automatic equipment?
ANSWER: When I’m extremely busy it crosses my mind sometimes. But then I would be forced to become professional. Now we have two different manufacturing locations to make sure we will be able to produce when one location is shut down. Plus we are small enough to be left in peace.
QUESTION: You told me before that you always use quality materials to make your steroids. How do you know they are good?
ANSWER: I have extremely good contacts and I use only the best powder suppliers. They are more expensive, but are worth it. The oils, solvents, and preservatives are all pharmaceutical certified as I have shown you.
QUESTION: Have you ever been sold bad materials? What were the worst things you’ve seen?
ANSWER: I work for other labs when they have difficulties with recipes, powders etc. One of my friends who runs a famous lab got powders just after the Chinese crackdown that where heavily cut with dangerous compounds. One of my best friends sent it in for analysis and the lab came to the conclusion that the gelled part of the solution consisted of polymers.
QUESTION: How do you feel about the sterility of your product? I notice you are very clean, but your room is not quite a pharmaceutical room. Do you ever have problems with dust or contamination?
ANSWER: No, and I hope we never will, when we get complaints it is always about painful injections due to high concentrations. Most labs I work with have solved their problems. I’m convinced the end-user will not get an infection or abscess when he uses our product for the first time. The big question is how do they clean the injection place, store the pinched vial, needle, or syringe? You and I know many aggressive bacteria live on our skin, and when one gets into our system by injection, especially when the compound is water based, then you’re fucked.
QUESTION: Do you ever use your own products?
ANSWER: I only use my own gear or Human Grade that I bought myself. There are many counterfeits, as you know.
QUESTION: What are your most popular steroids?
ANSWER: Testosterone Decanoate and Nandrolone Decanoate. This is the most ideal base to run a cycle with, it has a steady level without the many peaks of short esterified compounds and even Sustanon has. I always use a tablet with it to tickle the liver (IGF release) and then I prefer oxandrolone.
QUESTION: What about the more expensive steroids, like trenbolone and methenolone. Do you think they are easy steroids to find on the black market? Are they often substituted for cheaper steroids? What, if anything, have you seen?
ANSWER: Methenolone and trenbolone are mostly replaced by nandrolone. My experience is that mostly even boldenone gets substituted by nandrolone as well.
QUESTION: How do you feel about the quality of the underground market in general? Are most of your competitors clean? Have you seen any problems with dirty steroids?
ANSWER: I know lots of them use coffee filters or don’t even trouble to filter.
QUESTION: In your experience, do you think there many large underground labs with automated processes? Or is much of the work done similar to your lab operation, with manual filling and sealing?
ANSWER: Sure that is something I’ve noticed the last two years. Those companies are real pharmaceutical quality but produce products for the bodybuilder. Though I’ve witnessed the change from the small group of bodybuilders to the up and coming use of young people. Look at the movies — all those guys are pumped up, just like artists; hip-hoppers; the gay community; athletes, etc. — it has become big business worth millions. I’m an insider and noticed that the criminals took an interest in this business and use violence –intimidations, etc. to take over UG labs and websites. They changed business from hard drugs – recreational drugs like cocaine and heroin — to the more lucrative AAS market, mostly combining the businesses. And I believe the more countries take over this U.S. “war on drugs” the more this will increase. People will buy steroids no matter what, only prices will go up and quality will go down.
QUESTION: You work in an illegal business. Do you think you are in a dangerous business? Do you fear being closed down by the law? Prison? Your safety from other dealers?
ANSWER:: Its something you should consider, of course. But we took our precautions.
QUESTION: What about the big international crackdown called Operation Raw Deal, where many suppliers were arrested, and the Chinese powder trade exposed. Did this affect your business? How?
ANSWER: Big time. You saw that it became difficult to obtain the raws, many labs could not get powders or could only get the basics (that problem is still valid). I know a guy in a big international steroid organization and he warned me this was coming. So we stocked raws especially the “specials.” A lot of UG labs started to sell underdosed/mislabeled products. Things are changing and are getting normal again. Some labs found markets outside China.
QUESTION: We’ve seen a lot of changes in the global market over the last several years. Where do you see the steroid market in 2 years? How about 5 or 10 years? Will it get better? Worse?
ANSWER: The use will increase, everybody wants a lean muscular body, both male as well as female. The sales will increase massively and the modern trend of bigger organizations in exotic countries that sell pharmaceutical grade AAS in a “legal” way. Criminals will try to obtain those labs or start them. I personally know some. If you only look to the busts where the police finds multiple guns and even machineguns, that should warn authorities, but they are as blind as ever.
QUESTION: What do you think of the laws that make steroid use and sales illegal in many countries? Do you agree with them? Do you see them spreading?
ANSWER: That is what I stated in previous questions. It will become a very lucrative market and that will attract scumbags and criminal organizations. Remember the hippies in the early seventies, selling Moroccan weed where the seeds exploded in your pipe? The soft quality of home grown marijuana? And now its big business. The USA and other countries restricted the sales/use, but did that really help? The Netherlands allows free sale but are afraid to regulate the grow, because they are afraid that other countries will point to them as being the European Colombia. Nonsense, now the growth of marijuana is for the biggest part done by criminal organizations that use this profit for other illegal activities.
QUESTION: Tell me about your customers. Do you mainly sell to dealers or to users?
ANSWER: I started making liters for the big guys — the powerlifters and strongmen in Scandinavia. I made special blends, high dosed compounds. I loved doing that. Now we still produce for other labs. The profit is good and it creates less work. As you saw the sterilizing, filtering, and filling of the vials is very time consuming. For the rest we only sell to resellers, we don’t sell ourselves.
QUESTION: Do you ever do business with Americans? Do you think it is safe?
ANSWER: As I said I have very good contacts and found out about this DEA plan in a very early stage. The DEA Austria started it. When we heard that the DEA wanted to ask for extradition we decided not to send to the USA. What our distributors do we don’t know, of course.
QUESTION: Do you have a lot of contact with the people that use your products? Would you say your line has a good reputation? Do you get a lot of repeat business?
ANSWER: Yes, most of them were friends or became friends. Some train athletes. We also sponsored some. And most of them get much feedback and let us know. I can say we have a very good reputation. We also have good reviews on bodybuilding message and discussion boards If we would choose to advertise, start a selling website, we would be forced to go professional. In the present situation I hardly have time for a social life. The demand for our products is many times higher then we are willing to produce. As my friend always says: small sips make you drunk eventually also!
QUESTION: You must know many bodybuilders. Do you see a lot of health problems from steroids? Does the safety of steroids concern you, personally?
ANSWER: I truly believe that the use is only safe, it’s the abuse that kills. Some people don’t realize that modest amounts of steroids and a healthy life style bring the same results as enormous amounts of all kinds of steroids, peptides, ancillaries — it only takes a little bit longer. I always compare it with booze; if you drink a few beers it won’t kill you or make you sick. If, on the other hand, you drink two liters of whiskey per day and eat bad, year after year, it will eventually destroy you. That is use and abuse. It does not mean that they are bad. It is how you use them. In the USA it’s the fast food. If you teach your children to eat some fast food now and then and enjoy it, they can stay lean and healthy. If on the other hand you teach them to live on junk food they will end up obese or even worse — obese and diabetic.
QUESTION: Is there anything you’d like to tell our readers? Words of advice when using steroids? Buying from underground labs?
ANSWER: Stay safe. Use low doses, don’t combine with recreational drugs like “speed,” cocaine, or XTC, not even in the weekend — the combination is dangerous. Remember this sport was once about a healthy lifestyle, which includes training, eating the right foods, getting enough sleep, and some optional chemical aids. This will make you as healthy and strong as you look. Most top bodybuilders feel dead sick when they compete in top shape: believe me, I know.