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State drug enforcement authorities raided a popular Bay Ridge mom-and-pop pharmacy on Wednesday, seizing hundreds of thousand of dollars worth of steroids and growth hormones.
Workers at Lowen’s Pharmacy were stunned as investigators from the state Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement entered the store and began a search that yielded $200,000 worth of the illegal performance-enhancing medications.
The investigation was first reported Thursday by the New York Daily News. The raid was confirmed by the Albany County District Attorney’s office.
Officials aren’t calling it a “raid,” per se, because narcotics officers are allowed to randomly search any state-regulated pharmacy without a warrant if there is reasonable cause to suspect something untoward is going on.
Those fears were apparently generated by an unrelated investigation by the Albany DA into a pharmacy chain based in Florida.
The Lowen’s “name had come up frequently” in that investigation, Assistant District Attorney Chris Baynes told the News.
Investigators took stacks of papers, which Baynes said would likely contain the names of professional athletes who are using steroids.
“Reason holds that there would be [names], based on prior experience,” he said.
Prior raids in Florida have resulted in indictments against 21 people for selling steroids over the Internet.
Baynes said Lowen’s had filled the gap — and the prescriptions — after the Florida chain was cracked.
Baynes told the News that the Lowen’s fax machine was buzzing with new orders coming in from all over the country, even as the investigators were doing their work.
On Thursday, it was business as usual at Lowen’s, whose stately, old-style building is at the corner of Third Avenue and 69th Street.
“Why should I comment to you? We have no comment,” said the pharmacist.
A regular customer told The Brooklyn Paper that Lowen’s “has a fantastic reputation in the community.”
“I imagine this is all a misunderstanding,” she added.
With the store open, customers browsed the aisles like any normal day, filling prescriptions, stocking up on sunscreen and getting a last-minute card for Mother’s Day.
There was no outward sign that anything had changed.
It’s not the first time Lowen’s has been linked to a big news story.
Days after the 9-11 attacks, several Bay Ridge residents claimed that hijacker Mohammad Atta was a regular customer at the store.
©2007 Community Newspaper Group
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