Local News

Cumberland County Speeding Stop Results in Major Drug Bust

Posted November 29, 2000 6:00 a.m. EST

— Cumberland County authorities made a major drug bust Wednesday -- possibly the largest steriod pill bust in the nation.

Officers with the Cumberland County Sheriff's Narcotics Unit pulled over a rental car on Interstate 95 for speeding. Inside the car were two men from Brazil and 321,000 individual steroid pills.

The suspects, Jean Helou, 29, and Joao Saqueto, 36, a Brazilian police officer, were arrested and charged with the following:

  • possession with intent to manufacture and sell and distribute a controlled substance
  • conspiracy to sell a controlled substance
  • maintaining a motor vehicle to sell a controlled substance

    The men are being held in the Cumberland County Jail on $500,000 bond.

    Narcotics officers say theanabolic steroidswere headed from Miami to New York to be sold on the street. Their value is estimated at $3.2 million.

    Officers say the pills are illegal in the United States, but in demand by people who lift weights.

    "You get populated areas such as the northeast and the south, or wherever, and you get workout situations, people wanting to build up. They can get this stuff," says Maj. Ray David of the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office.

    I-95 is known as a major drug corridor, and it is not just common drugs being transported anymore.

    "It's not limited to cocaine and marijuana any longer," says Sgt. Everett Clendenin of the State Highway Patrol. "There are new drugs we are stumbling on -- methamphetamines, a drug called ecstasy, and other drugs."

    TheDrug Enforcement Agencyis involved in the investigation.

    The El Paso Intel Center, which tracks drug seizures across the country, estimates this bust of steriod pills to be the biggest ever in the United States. Getting Tough on Anabolic Steroids:

  • The sale and distribution of anabolic steroids outside of a doctor-patient relationship has been illegal in the U.S. since 1983. In 1990, laws were toughened to make it a felony to sell steroids. It comes with a five year sentence if convicted, 10 years for selling to a minor. According to theNational Institute on Drug Abuse, nearly three percent of all8th- and 12th gradershave used anabolic steroids at least once.