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Man caught with foreign drugs

WORTHINGTON -- A package intercepted from China by customs officials in a California airport led authorities to a 36-year-old Worthington man accused of allegedly possessing controlled substances.

WORTHINGTON -- A package intercepted from China by customs officials in a California airport led authorities to a 36-year-old Worthington man accused of allegedly possessing controlled substances.

Joseph Roy Ismil Jr. was charged Monday in Nobles County District Court with fourth- and fifth-degree controlled substance crimes and conspiracy to commit a fifth-degree controlled substance crime after a controlled drop of the intercepted package in Worthington.

A Worthington Police Detective was contacted Aug. 31 by an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent regarding a package addressed to Ismil on College Way. The package, shipped from China, contained injectable vials of Jintropin, a human growth hormone (HGH).

HGHs are a schedule III controlled substance. The detective learned Jintropin can be ordered over the Internet.

The package was sent via Express Mail. On the invoice slip, the contents were identified as "mould sample."

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A controlled drop of the package was arranged, and a search warrant was executed shortly afterward.

Officers found numerous items, including a computer, a "Steroid Bible," numerous needles, boxes of new syringes, a container of anabolic steroids, a capsule-filling machine and empty capsules, numerous containers of Jintropin, three bottles of suspected steroid pills, a handgun and a loaded shotgun.

There was a box of needles on the stove, a foam box containing vials of a white powder inside the refrigerator, several vials of an unknown liquid in the refrigerator, a bag of powder and a jug with red powder on top of the refrigerator and a container of steroid powder in a box in the closet.

Ismil admitted the package he had just received was from China and contained HGH. He said he orders it over the Internet and had been taking it for about six months. He added the package was the third he had received from China, and that he and three friends, whom he refused to name, all chip in and order the substance.

Ismil identified some of the pills and bottles found as Minstral, which he said he knew was an illegal substance he had ordered from China. He admitted he had been taking steroids for about seven years, and discussed the prices he paid and the countries he ordered them from, which include Mexico, China and Thailand. Steroids are also a schedule III controlled substance.

In Ismil's vehicle, officers found an empty, padded envelope with a name and address on it, which Ismil said was to send the person steroids.

Internet research by the Daily Globe shows the price of Jintropin is approximately $1,600 for 500IU (International Unit). The Web site recommends purchasing the shipping insurance.

"About 20 percent of our shipments get confiscated by customs in the stricter countries so we strongly encourage taking it," the site states. "Insurance is $4 per vial (already included in the $1,600 price)."

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The shipments can be paid for by Western Union, wire transfer or escrow service. Two Western Union transfers were found in Ismil's apartment during the search, one of which was to famous model Claudia Schiffer from Joe Ismil.

On the site's list of terms and conditions, it states the buyer must be at least 21 years old, use the medication for personal purposes and have a valid prescription from a doctor to use the HGH. It also says the buyer must state they are permitted by law in their area to receive the items purchased from the Web site. On a different site, the user has to state truthfully that they are older than 18 and that they would not distribute the substance to anyone else, but they do not have to state they have a prescription. They do, however, have to indicate they will visit a doctor once a year.

A motion filed last week requests the Fifth Judicial District Court to release certain evidence to Bob Monteiro of Pfizer Global Security Group, so the substances found can be tested to confirm they are HGH. The motion states Pfizer is the only entity law enforcement has found that will test for HGH.

Monteiro would like copies of certain evidence so that he can conduct an investigation in China. Jintropin is a "counterfeit" drug of Genotropin, an HGH made by Pfizer and available only by prescription.

The reasons for releasing the evidentiary items are for testing purposes and for aiding Pfizer in their investigation.

If convicted, Ismil faces a maximum combined penalty of 25 years imprisonment and/or $120,000 in fines. His next court appearance is 9 a.m. Nov. 11 at Prairie Justice Center, Worthington.

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