According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of New Mexico, Tanya Puccini sold at least $107,486 of Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators (SARMs) between December 2017 and June 2021.
Used to stimulate muscle and bone growth, these performance enhancing drugs (PEDS) are prohibited by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and the World Anti-Doping Agency and are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
‘Not for human consumption’
Drugs were sold in bottles labeled “not for human consumption” and “for research purposes only.” The indictment details that Puccini provided verbal, printed and occasionally written instructions, including a “note to a customer in which she represented that the drugs were not ‘technically’ SARMs but included instructions for using the drugs to promote muscle growth.”
As stated by the terms of the plea agreement, she forfeits her interest in any drug she received or transferred that is or was adulterated or misbranded. The Court will issue a money judgement within 30 days.
“Misbranded drugs that are disguised as dietary supplements and contain potentially harmful hidden ingredients place American consumers at risk,” said Special Agent in Charge Charles L. Grinstead, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations Kansas City Field Office.
“We will continue to investigate and bring to justice those who endanger the U.S. public health by distributing fraudulent and potentially dangerous products.”
Bringing PEDS peddlers to justice
Puccini’s sentencing is the latest in the continued efforts to prosecute the sale of illegal and toxic ingredients sold as dietary supplements. Earlier this year, the co-founder of Blackstone Labs, a South Florida sports and dietary supplements retailer, was sentenced to 4 1/2 years in prison and ordered to forfeit $2.9 million for conspiracy to sell non-FDA-approved controlled substances as dietary supplements.
As part of a nationwide crackdown on the industry in 2015, the Department of Justice indicted USPlabs and its manufacturing partner S.K. Laboratories for using methylhexaneamine (DMAA) in its best-selling Jack3d and OxyElite Pro products. The experimental stimulant was imported from China with a doctored certificate of analysis and labeled as geranium extract. USPlabs’ OxyElite Pro “Advanced Formula”, reformulated a few years later with a mislabeled Chinese herb called cynanchum powder and aegeline, was also implicated in an outbreak of liver injuries.
In 2019, the CEO of Enhanced Athlete in Sacramento, CA was sentenced to three years in prison for selling SARMS in dietary supplements that included dinitrophenol, a toxic chemical used to manufacture dyes and wood preservatives, as a fertilizer and as a pesticide.
“In all of these examples, the companies were able to market products as dietary supplements for many years before there was legal action against them,” the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency warns.
“Athletes need to be aware that the law cannot protect them from dietary supplements spiked with harmful and performance-enhancing drugs.”
The organization recommends use of only dietary supplements that have been certified by third-party program NSF Certified for Sport to reduce the risk from supplements.