The Rise and Fall of British Dragon.
With the death of the two original founders of the British Dragon, the time has come to write a conclusive story about this legendary Underground Laboratory, that set a footmark to most of the present Underground Laboratories, some even originate from its organization.
The groundwork for the rise of British Dragon was laid before the year 2000. Back then, it was very easy to import cheap real human grade steroids from Thailand. This country was a literal Valhalla for steroid-using bodybuilders. The pink pentangle shaped tablets of methandrostenolone (Anabol) from The British Dispensary had an almost mythical reputation. They were so widely known, most people simply referred to them as “pinks” or “Thaibol”. Those tablets where manufactured by a genuine Thai pharmaceutical company called “The British Dispensary”. Thai online pharmacies sent packages with human grade steroids like Anabol all over the world. The story of the underground lab British Dragon begins here, in Thailand.
A British man called Richard came to live in Thailand after doing jail time for fraud in the United Kingdom. He was determined to make a mark in the steroid business. Richard had taken up with an Iranian partner named Mark, who also referred to himself as Justin. Together, the two men started an underground steroid manufacturing operation. They called it “The British Dragon”, a name very similar to the popular Thai maker of Anabol. The business started simply. They would copy Thai Anabol. The two men asked a third individual, Kenneth C (CNK International) in China to mold the pink pentangle shaped tablets. The copy was excellent. So good, in fact, that the real marker of Anabol (The British Dispensary) started pressing their snake logo in their tablets, and using a golden hologram on their bottles, to differentiate from this counterfeit.
In March of 2000, under pressure from United States, Thai authorities cooperated to shut down online pharmacies in that country that illegally sold prescription drugs to customers in the United States. These pharmacies sold many drugs including Viagra, tranquilizers, and anabolic steroids. All required prescriptions in the United States, and were being exported from Thailand in violation of local law. Acting on information supplied by U.S. officials, Thai police raided locations in Bangkok and Chiang Mai and arrested 22 people on suspicion of violating Thailand’s drug and export laws. The Investigators seized nearly 2.5 million dosage units of drugs. This arrest would change the Thai market dramatically.
Following this series of raids it was almost impossible to get any illegal products past Thai customs. This would be the breakthrough that launched British Dragon from a small obscure operation, to an enormous multi-national steroid empire. The British Dragon organization was soon manufacturing virtually every popular steroid, both orals and injectables, under their own label. As their reputation grew, they developed their own security measures, such as hologram stickers and custom formed stoppers/caps. The expansions were very fast, and very dramatic. To their credit, the British Dragon group was very enterprising. The lab quickly became one of the leading suppliers of steroids on the black markets of many countries worldwide. Even in the U.S. market, the initials BD were well known.
I received lots of mails about British Dragon, but this one I want to quote one. It came from someone close to Richard at one time, though the source wishes to remain unnamed in the book.
“Now that the whole BD thing is over I’ll tell you something about British Dragon that I never said before because I didn’t wanna stir shit up because at the time this board came online I really didn’t know for sure. I used to talk to this guy ‘Richard’ just about every week circa 2003-04 ; the way they used to do it is he would fly out from Thailand to Greece every month, his friend ‘Mark’ would meet him there, they would make BD in this little room over there when they met, as he described it there were absolutely no atomized processes there, he said they would just mix the oil and alcohol with the powder in a big glass thing, they would then draw the oil out of the bid glass thing into a big syringe, like a 100ml one and the fill up the 10ml vials one by one; I never asked about filtering but it’s safe to say that not a single BD vials has ever been filtered or heated, and if it were heated maybe just to get the test prop or tren to suspend fully. Richard described these sessions as marathon, in that they would work for 16 hours strait those few days that they were there and that was that months supply of BD vials. they would then ship to their sources from within the EU. He said that the closest thing they had to any mass production equipment was this little hand-held thing that would put the labels on strait. Labels and tops were the only thing Richard and Mark ever seemed concerned about…”.
While the early production methods may have been crude, British Dragon probably did not stay a “garage” operation. With significant money rolling in, the group began improving its production methods. They started to filter through a two-way Millipore system. They wanted to start manufacturing according the pharmaceutical guidelines in Eastern Europe. The group reportedly starting having a drug contract manufacturing facility make some of their products.
The British Dragon organization was lucky to have Mark, perhaps mostly for his Chinese girlfriend Rebecca (real name Youlan). She was able to help the group obtain high quality API steroid powders. This was proven with The Hartford Courant analyses, when some products of the British Dragon where compared with other Underground Labs and counterfeits. Many Chinese raw materials have a high heavy metal and acid content. This can cause pain even if the benzyl alcohol content is low. Rebecca and Mark had to pay more money for the materials, but they were much more refined than what is usually sent out to other underground labs. Rebecca assured this as she worked with a Chinese research lab to analyze the raw materials. The high quality of the used ingredients amplified the good reputation of the brand name. This, and the strong marketing of a Russian partner named Retabolil. Both Retabolil and Rebecca were very knowledgeable and alert.
In 2004, the British Dragon owners partnered with a well-known East European dealer/re-mailer named Alin. This was initially a very profitable partnership, and opened up strong new markets. Alin brought in a lot of money, especially with high-level dealers. By April 2005, British Dragon was producing in three locations due to the many different geographical regions they had to deliver to. To protect their market they developed a security label scheme. The blue label was for products sold in Eastern Europe/CIS countries. The green label was for the Middle East, and the red label for Western Europe. They protected it further with a special custom green stopper, which had the name and logo of the company.
Alin was a partner/manufacturer in the blue label operation. The British Dragon saw how Alin was able to work “legally” and in a professional way in Eastern Europe. They decided together to register the British trademark in Eastern Europe, and obtain the necessary licenses for a legal pharmaceutical manufacturing company. BD was trying to go legit. Everything leading up to this point was generally in a positive direction. The lab kept improving its manufacturing, powder sourcing, and potentially forming a real lab in Romania. Things were looking great for the BD team.
As the partners planned to start a pharmaceutical manufacturing company, they needed money for a plant, the licenses, and the necessary equipment. This money was placed into a “registered capital contribution”. This is an official agreement where each associate can bring in the capital he desires. The associate then owns the appropriate percentage of the total capital (shares). There would now be four parties officially involved in owning and operating the British Dragon. The first two, of course, were the original founders of BD, Mark and Richard. The third party was Alin, a now major source of sales. Alin, having such a steady establishment in Moldova, was selected at the official boss. He had “power of attorney”. Simply said, the power of decision. The fourth member, a man named Roman, looked after the logistical issues with regard to the deliveries. BD seemed poised to set a new standard in the underground steroid business – full registration.
A high profit criminal enterprise like that was not destined to last forever. Even early on there were some problems. The original tablet manufacturer Kenneth had agreed to sell the BD tablets only to the group. But he broke this agreement, and sold them to other customers. Soon, a very big Ukrainian supplier by the name of Vadim started buying them. Vadim would be a source of significant problems for BD in the years to come, as there were now two major sources for the same tablets. Vadim and his dealers had the BD tablets but not the injectables. Although we cannot attribute this to Vadim directly, rumors started around this time that many of the BD injectables on the market were fake. Other rumors were started about Vadim’s business. There was too much confusing information about this lab on the underground scene, and many people began doubting British Dragon as a brand. This active counterfeiting would cause even further rifts between the partners.
For a short while, BD was able to reign in Kenneth, and maintain some control over the tablet making. Vadim sold some very successful brands in Russia. For a while, he seemed to ignore BD and focus on other things. But he never forgot the lucrative business that was the British Dragon brand. In the middle 2005, he tried again to copy their products. This time, his approach was more aggressive. He used attorneys to form an official British Dragon company in the central office tower in Hong Kong. He started selling BD counterfeits through online sites that differed only one hyphen from the original British Dragon website name. But the British Dragon organization was more prepared this time around. Their re-mailers where respected members of top bodybuilding message boards. And as soon as Vadim’s associates posted their “knock-off “ products on the boards, the remailers of British Dragon and the organization itself hit back hard and posted pictures of the counterfeiters on the boards. It turned out to be a very successful strategy.
Vadim’s copies were very good. Even in some anbolic reference books, some pictures of those products made by Vadim where mistakenly printed as the real BD items. These products where actually made in India at BM Pharmaceuticals (the former Haryana Pharma). This pharmaceutical company sells their products to Vadim exclusively. Ironically enough, the end-users rejected these real pharmaceutical-made products as “fakes” and preferred the original BD brand. Since then, this aggressive marketing became part of the British Dragon trademark. As soon as someone had the guts to question the BD quality, he was attacked by a group of people, usually including a site moderator or board owner. They had a common interest. All this became painfully clear as the whole dirty laundry was exposed in public at the end of 2006. At that time, Vadim started, just as Richard and Mark had done, a new brand name called British Pharmaceuticals. Despite the good quality of their products, it did not become a big success.
Counterfeiting would be the least of BD’s problems in the long run. All plans for registration were finnaly halted after the Mexico DEA busts (December 15, 2005). This series of organized indictments and arrests removed the myth that the BD group themselves had come to believed; that being a licensed company would stop any legal prosecutions. In August 2006, the British Dragon’s original two founders Richard and Mark started the process of getting out of the partnership with Alin. Richard and Mark offered to buy him out, or asked to he bought out. What was perhaps even more crucial to this decision was that the group found out in October 2006 that the U.S. DEA in Vienna Austria (Vienna DEA country office covers Moldova) came upon information of the BD organization from the DEA’s Bangkok office. The DEA had already been tapping their phones and computers. They had names and numbers, and knew Richard was the leader of the organisation. The writing was on the wall.
Mark mailed me directly about this:
But it is not just focused on BD
I was really scared about *** threats of sending to authorities info before, but as you see on those papers they already know us plus more than 60 other names, the file was honestly 1.4 meters high. There is something big gonna happen this year from DEA i think it is not good to be around to catch the sting from them …..
December 2006. The BD partners know that law enforcement action at some level is imminent. Mark and Richard are anxious to get away from Alin. By now, all of the arguments between the former partners have a financial character. These arguments where openly discussed on the discussion boards. Many people did not understand why people were speaking about “shares” in an illegal company. It was obvious that the company never official existed, and the shares did not come from the stock exchange market. Still, there seemed to be strong legitimate fighting over what remained of the now defunct British Dragon enterprise.
In March 2007, Mark committed suicide. The story is fuzzy, but we should provide much more detail than has been made public before. Mark was reportedly trying to get on a flight out of Vienna. The DEA regional office that covers Moldova is in Vienna, and Mark was in the country to provide information and try to keep out of jail. He trying to get on a flight, but was too drunk, and refused to board the aircraft. Mark left the airport to go to a hotel and sober up. He took a room at the NH Hotel in Vienna, on the 6th floor. Our contact suggests Mark was feeling very remorseful about meeting with the DEA. He was reportedly very stressed, very afraid of going to prison in the U.S. He had been complaining that Interpol was harassing him for months. He didn’t know what to do. Sadly, he decided to take his own life instead of face what was coming.
The same month that Mark died, Thai Police/DEA raided Richard’s house. They also raided a man named Ashley, who sold paper steroids under the name of RediCat. They didn’t find any steroids in Richards house, but they did in Ashley’s. Richard was the main target of the raid as they described him as the ‘boss’, and Ashley as just someone who worked for him. This is true considering it was Richard that would buy the powder and manufacture the paper products that Ashley sold. In other words, he would make as much money on each of Ashley’s sales as Ashley did, and that was small potatoes compared to Richards’s distribution of British Dragon products, which was his main business.
“So once they had them and they started extradition proceedings, Richard decided to fight extradition and Ashley decided to cooperate fully (particularly testifying against Richard. I found odd Richard would fight it since the sentencing guidelines for steroids actually isn’t that long-and fighting extradition takes A VERY LONG TIME-at least 2 years, as you probably know GymAce (who didn’t fight extradition) spent about 6 months in fed prison before being released. But if you read the indictment for GymAce which was also posted online you will find the answer-the feds wanted millions of dollars in fines from GA. In these cases the feds will usually offer to drop the money laundering charges against the subject if he turns over the loot. Sentencing guidelines for money laundering is 10 years, steroids is only 1 or 2 and you usually get out in 6 months if you behave.
Richard is presently fighting the extradition, if he can beat extradition he gets to keep his millions-which he has stashed from Britain to Bulgaria to Thailand, if he gets extradited than he’ll be faced with the same predicament, 10 to 20 years in prison or turn over the money. “
On December 2008, Ashley arrived at Los Angeles International Airport from Bangkok. He spent 8 months in a Thai prison and fully cooperated with the Thai police, providing them with all information about his customers and business associates. He was a very organized man. Richard kept a list of his sales, all the bribes and gifts he sent to the moderators of almost every board for a period of almost 10 years. He also kept records of the stock he purchased from all the major suppliers. This was a golden catch for the police and a new source of worry for all of the people on that list. No doubt, U.S. authorities are still working this information.
Richard ultimately sold the British Dragon website. The new owners have made public plans to bring back BD later in the year. They claim that BD will come back as a fully registered company this time, selling its products through pharmacies in Eastern Europe. If successful, the new owners would realize a dream the original partners had, but could not achieve. As time proves the British Dragon died and can never be revived again!!
Richard fought extradition for three years but the Thailand Court of Appeals ruled against Crawley and authorized the continuation of extradition proceedings. He was finally extradited to the United States in March 2011. He initially should be in jail for a short short time because the prosecutor wanted him for 46 months, then credited his entire time in Thailand and the lawyer got some further time discounted. They were only interested in the conviction, not information. The lawyer made it pretty clear it was not a good idea to go to trial. The US had a deal that Ashley would return to testify, plus they had a confidential informant Leroy M, plus evidence from his computer. If he had gone to trial and had lost, the penalty would have been higher. He had no forfeiture to the US. The US tried in the beginning to get his assets, but the Thais returned everything. The US is satisfied to have a conviction on the books. Statistics!
Richard pled guilty. With time served and time discounts, he expected to be released in about 4 months and then sent out of the US, maybe to the UK (as he is British – Ashley was deported to UK) or Thailand, where he lived with his family.
But faith took an other direction, Richard Edwin Crawley founder of the Underground Lab British Dragon Died. In the contrary to their arrest and the extradition of Ashley, nobody seemed to care. It was hardly covered on the world wide web.
Richard died in hospital in the US the morning of Friday July the 1st. He was released from prison early there a few weeks ago because he became so sick there with pneumonia and the USA didn’t want to pay the hospital bill or have him die while they still held him. So he was still in the hospital afterward and didn’t get better. His wife and daughter were there at the end. He will be cremated in the US.
I wrote on a US forum these words and they come from the bottom of my heart:
The USA should have left him in Thailand, The USA doesn’t extradite their own countryman, not even murderers. Shame on the the USA, what had Richard done to deserve this?? And now play the innocent?? Why not put him in Guantanamo Bay? For selling steroids…. I have to puke..
We’ll update with translations and add an article about Ashley later
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