A couple who pleaded guilty to illegal distribution of steroids will be sentenced next week at the Central Circuit Criminal Court in Dublin.
The court heard evidence that the Irish Medicines Board suspected that anabolic steroids, sometimes used for body building, but also insulin and Viagra, were being posted from Thailand and Greece to a fictitious name at a hired mailbox.
Bernard Foy (38), a former soldier, and Anna Nawroka (27), who have a child together, face a possible maximum fine of €127,000 and/or 10 years in jail for their roles in breaking down and distributing steroid packages sourced abroad.
Det Sgt Brian Walsh revealed that although the couple were “essential cogs” in this criminal enterprise, the “main player” imported the drugs wholesale and ran a website selling them in smaller packages. This person has since fled the country.
James Dwyer, defending Foy, submitted that his client met this main player after he began self-medicating with steroids when he found himself unable to afford physiotherapy following a serious traffic accident in 1993, which smashed his pelvis, leg and arm.
Foy and Nawroka, Hermitage Gardens, Lucan, pleaded guilty to supplying medicinal products without prescription at Camden Row, Dublin, and Monksfield Heights, Clondalkin, respectively on March 22nd, 2005. Foy has one previous minor conviction from 1991.
Det Sgt Walsh told Ronan Kennedy, prosecuting, that gardaí set up surveillance outside Charter House on Camden Row and at the Monksfield Heights house in March 2005 following an Irish Medicines Board investigation into suspected illegal prescription drug distribution from these addresses. The board contacted the Charter House manager, who began monitoring the mailbox for twice-weekly package deliveries to “Glen Ryan”.
Gardaí set up surveillance with board enforcement officers outside Charter House and saw Foy pulling up on a motorcycle, entering the building and returning with a parcel addressed to “Glen Ryan”.
Foy immediately handed over the parcel and admitted it contained steroids.
Joe Callan, an Irish Medicines Board enforcement officer, told Mr Kennedy that Foy’s parcel contained 4,000 steroid pills worth €2,200 as outlined on a printed price list also found on him.
Mr Callan said gardaí seized 40,500 pills worth €22,000 at Nawroka’s old Clondalkin address on the same date following a similar surveillance operation.
He said gardaí discovered the balance of the €143,707 drugs bust at various Dublin locations volunteered by Foy in interview, but added that the full value of all the pills in the investigation reached €205,000.
Det Sgt Walsh told Mr Kennedy that gardaí found two mobile phones, a notebook of pill transactions, a printed drug price list, lists of steroids, mailbox agencies and names on Foy on his arrest.
They also seized €6,000 from Foy, who has since had a baby with Nawroka, which he identified as sales profits.
Mr Foy told gardaí the operation’s “main player” was paying him in steroids for personal use and for selling to his friends for split profit.
Nawroka told gardaí and the Irish Medicines Board that she was being paid €300 a week for breaking down and repackaging the bulk pills to orders received in text messages from the main player. She would post these packages to their destinations using a false name.
Det Sgt Walsh agreed with Shane Costelloe, defending Nawroka, that his client had been 23 at the time, had come to Ireland looking for work but failed to get a job before getting involved in the criminal operation.
Judge Katherine Delahunt then adjourned the matter until next week.