THE Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) Criminal Investigations Section has laid charges against four B.C. men in relation to an anabolic steroid smuggling and distribution ring. These are the latest charges in a two-year investigation that spanned across the nation from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Victoria, B.C.
The four B.C. men were charged on January 29 though the CBSA made the announcement only on Monday (February 16). CTV broke the news on February 6.
Baseball coach Gautam Mohan Srivastava, of Saanich has been charged with seven counts including smuggling and possession of unlawfully imported goods under the Customs Act; importation, trafficking, possession for the purpose of trafficking (two counts), and production under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
William Joel Baturin, of Sechelt, Simon James Baturin of Vancouver, and Hubert Moses Sims of Burnaby have been charged with four counts including possession of unlawfully imported goods under the Customs Act; and trafficking, possession for the purpose of trafficking, and production under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
The investigation named Project Juice started in 2012 after steroids were intercepted in multiple postal seizures at the CBSA Vancouver and Greater Toronto International Mail centres, and at the Vancouver International Air Cargo Centre.
Early in the investigation, in 2012, Greg Austin Doucette of Halifax, Nova Scotia, was charged with offences under Customs Act and Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. In 2015, Winnipeg, Manitoba resident Jason Mark Eggleston pled guilty to one count of smuggling pursuant to the Customs Act.
Over 5,600 vials, 150,000 tablets, approximately 2.7 litres of prepared steroids, over 50 kilograms of pure raw powders and $21,000 were seized during the investigation in B.C.
“The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) continues to be vigilant in our enforcement efforts at the border. These charges are a direct result of an intense investigation that spanned over two years and included valuable assistance by the Oak Bay Police. The CBSA is committed to preventing inadmissible persons and goods from entering Canada and remains diligent in protecting Canada’s residents,” said Yvette-Monique Gray, Director Enforcement and Intelligence Division.
CTV had reported that court documents show that CBSA investigators executed a search warrant at a building on West 3rd Avenue in Vancouver last February, and found a lab with a large amount of anabolic steroids with an estimated street value of several hundred thousand dollars.
The Greater Victoria Baseball Association website (www.victoriabaseball.com) posted a story on February 6 that the Victoria Eagles baseball program was informed that long-time coach and General Manager Gautam Srivastava is facing a number of criminal charges and that these “are in no way associated with the Eagles program, nor related to any distribution of steroids to, or use of steroids by any Eagles player, or any other player under Srivastava’s supervision over the years.”
Srivastava told Christian J. Stewart: “I have never met the tenants of the property and those that are co-accused with me. I don’t know them from Adam. My name is associated with the property because I am a co-owner and as such, because of their actions, I am being charged as well. I am not and have not been involved in this.”
Meanwhile, the Eagles have suspended him from his duties with the organization.
According to media reports, Srivastava has been scouting in the province for the major league Minnesota Twins since 2012 and has been with the Eagles since 2010. He was named Baseball Canada’s Coach of the Year in 2010. He also coached the 2006 Victoria peewee Wildcats at the Canadian championships and the bantam Vipers who won the national championships in 2008. He was an assistant coach with Team B.C. at the Canada Cup in 2010 when the team won gold, according to the Victoria Times-Colonist.