Bodybuilder deceives woman to import drugs
A MAN who imported bodybuilding drugs into Guernsey because he became ‘fixated with having the perfect body’ was caught after Customs officers searched a van coming off a passenger ferry.
Andris Noviks deceived a friend’s sister into bringing 3,861 steroid pills and 73 steroid vials to the island for him.
When the woman got off the Condor ferry from St Malo on 8 June last year she was stopped and Customs officers found the tablets and vials hidden in a cardboard speaker box.
The Royal Court heard that 28-year-old Noviks bought the testosterone and other drugs for himself and others at his local gym, who had also ‘chipped in’, but he accepted responsibility for the importation.
Noviks was sentenced to four years and one month in prison after pleading guilty to importing the class C drugs, backdated to when he was first remanded in custody in December last year. But a request by the prosecution for deportation, to send him back to his homeland of Latvia, was rejected.
Prosecuting officer Chris Dunford outlined the case against Noviks, who at the time of the offence was living temporarily in the Bordage.
In June last year Customs officers stopped a van at the harbour and found drugs hidden inside expanding foam in the cardboard box of a sub-woofer speaker.
The driver of the van, a woman, was subsequently arrested and interviewed by police, and searched by female officers.
She said she had been asked to bring the package for a friend of someone she knew and her story was accepted as true and she was eliminated as a suspect.
The woman helped police with their enquiries and the next day she showed officers a message she received on her mobile phone which said: ‘hello are you already in Guernsey, are you meant to have a parcel for me?’
There followed further messages and these led to police finding Noviks and arresting him. He was found to be in possession of further vials of class C drugs, which he said were used ‘to pump yourself up’.
Six mobile phones were seized, one of the phones had the number which was used to contact the woman who was detained. Messages on the phone were studied and they revealed discussions about purchasing a sub-woofer speaker, including one message which said: ‘make sure the box looks unopened and nothing is loose when shaken.’
Other messages examined asked about the package and where it was.
Despite the strong evidence from the mobile phone, Noviks was initially uncooperative with police and he maintained that he didn’t know anything about the speaker box or the importation.
It was difficult for Guernsey Police to determine the street value of the drugs, but the pills, which were methandienone, were estimated to have a street price of between £1 and £1.50 each, putting the overall value between £3,861 and £5,791.
Some of the vials, which included several different types of testosterone, trenbolone enanthate, and stanozol, had an estimated value of £30 each.
A report from the island’s chief pharmacist confirmed that the steroids in the package have no place in recognised conventional medicine, but some are used in cattle.
It is known that the steroids in the package are sometimes abused by bodybuilders.
Advocate Dunford recommended to the court that a deportation order be sought, so that Noviks would be sent back to Latvia after serving his sentence.
In Noviks’ defence, Advocate Samuel Steel said his client had been an avid bodybuilder since he was 18.
He started noticing his body ‘changing’ and became obsessed with the ‘pursuit of a perfect body’ and he wanted to become a personal trainer.
In Guernsey, anabolic steroids are more expensive than other parts of Europe so Noviks and his friends at the gym ‘chipped in’ to buy the drugs from abroad.
Advocate Steel said: ‘He wanted to make muscular gains, not financial gains, he wanted to help.’
Counsel painted a picture of a hard-working man who had been living in Guernsey since 2009 and had worked consistently throughout that time.
Noviks initially worked in hospitality but then moved to the construction industry and became a builder.
His former employer wrote a letter calling him ‘reliable, productive and jovial’.
Advocate Steel said his client had been a ‘model prisoner’ since being put in custody, and he had been studying maths, English, business, and attending church and learning a new musical instrument.
He had reflected during his time in prison and realised that he had been naive, and ‘made the biggest mistake of his life’.
Noviks was keen to stay in Guernsey because he had only one family member left in Latvia. ‘All of his friends are here, he enjoys the religious festivals here, he loves the sea, the cliff paths, the sunsets,’ said his advocate.
In sentencing, the Deputy Bailiff said he was not persuaded that this was a private venture because of the considerable quantity of drugs involved. ‘You have been here long enough to know Guernsey’s stance against any illegal drugs.’
‘Bodybuilding is a laudable pursuit, but not when it comes with chemical enhancement instead of sheer hard work.’
Judge McMahon gave Noviks credit for his early guilty plea and he noted that he had a low likelihood of re-offending.
However, he condemned the way Noviks carried out the attempt. ‘The way you orchestrated this using an innocent was, in a way, callous.
‘An innocent woman was subjected to a personal search.’
The judge stopped short of asking for a deportation. ‘The court believes you that you have learnt your lesson and you could be a value to this community.
‘We think you will become a model resident.’