>South Africa plans to crackdown on the local steroid trade.

>The South African Institute for Drug Free Sport on Thursday announced it will implement an Anti-Doping Intelligence System to aggressively clamp down on the country’s criminal steroid syndicates, who control the trafficking of illegal performance-enhancing drugs. Institute chief executive Khalid Galant, who announced the plan, said trafficking of illegal performance-enhancing drugs was big business. ‘Anecdotal evidence and drug arrests point to substantial involvement of criminal syndicates who are manufacturing illegal steroids in laboratories and trafficking steroids and using the sale of steroids and other illicit medicines as a means to launder ill-gotten gains.

‘The return on investment is high and risks are considered substantially lower to the syndicates when manufacturing and trafficking steroids, as opposed to smuggling drugs such as cocaine, heroin or manufacturing methamphetamine,’ he said.

Galant said South Africa was in danger of becoming a renowned ‘steroid destination’ for Africa and other parts of the world, because some of the busiest ports are in South Africa, making it very vulnerable to the entry of illicit drugs into the country.

Galant said criminal syndicates control a significant proportion of world sport, and Interpol and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) have confirmed the involvement of criminal syndicates with steroid trafficking and estimates that there is more money made in trafficking illegal performance-enhancing drugs than in dealing heroin.

At the recent Tackling Doping in Sport 2011 conference at Twickenham, UK, both bodies called for world sport to clamp down on criminal gangs.

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