Louisiana Steroid Dealers Face Unconstitutional Drug Tax

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Steroid dealers in Louisiana have been required to pay a special drug tax for the past two decades. Convicted steroid dealer Todd Matherne onced owed $52 million dollars in taxes to the Louisiana Department of Revenue for steroids he sold under the Zencall Labs label. Matherne pleaded guilty to six steroid-related charges and served three years of a seven year prison sentence.

Matherne did not learn about Louisiana’s “drug stamp law” until after he was released from prison when trying to “rebuild his life”. He filed a lawsuit against the State of Louisiana calling the $52 million tax unconstitutional claiming it was in violation of the prohibition against “cruel and unusual punishment”.

The Louisiana Department of Revenue decided not to fight Matherne in court and reached a settlement reducing the tax owed from $52 million to $2,000. The drug tax law remains on the books in Louisiana and questions about its constitutionality remain.

The problem, said John Williams, a specialist in drug prosecution for the Louisiana District Attorneys Association, is the possibility that the law could be ruled unconstitutional, as similar laws in other states have been. Some laws have been thrown out for “double jeopardy” — trying a criminal twice for the same crime.

“In effect, it’s just sitting there,” Williams said. “It’s not being used because it may well preclude criminal prosecution. Nobody wants to take the chance of losing a criminal case” against a drug dealer just to collect taxes.

Another reason law enforcement is not eager to impose the law is that any taxes collected go to state agencies, “not to law enforcement,” Williams said.

For anyone who is curious about how a steroid dealer becomes indebted to the tune of $52 million to the government, the tax stamp law specifies a $200 tax per gram of anabolic steroids if sold by weight or $400 tax per 10 dosage units.

Todd Matherne was a large scale distributor of anabolic steroids using the underground lab name of Zencall Labs. They were caught with enormous quantities of processed and raw anabolic steroids when the Louisiana State Police busted them on March 7, 2005. The oral steroids seized at their apartment(s) included 10,180 tablets and 300 capsules of stanozolol (aka Winstrol), 6,440 tablets of oxymetholone (aka Anadrol), 3,500 tablets and 1,900 capsules of Cialis, 1500 tamoxifen capsules (Nolvadex), 800 Anabol capsules, 2,400 Clomid capsules and 600 Dianabol capsules. They were also caught with 727 vials of injectable anabolic steroids and several pounds of raw steroid powder and other chemicals and precursors materials.

Zencall Labs

About Millard Baker