Research Chemicals Site Owner Gets 3 Years in Federal Prison

DNA Peptides

Gavin Burns Smith, the owner of DNA Peptides and Precision Peptides, is heading to prison for selling unapproved drugs. Is this the beginning of the end for “research chemicals”?

In June 2015, a 45-year old Florida man named Gavin Burns Smith, owner of Precision Peptides (2010-2012) and DNA Peptides (2012-2015) was indicted by a federal grand jury for selling misbranded drugs online.[1]

Earlier this month, the FDA and US Department of Justice announced that Smith would be serving a maximum sentence of three years in prison and would have to forfeit $2.1 million.[2]

What was being sold?

Both of Smith’s websites sold numerous compounds for “research/laboratory use only.” Amongst the list:

This is not exactly what you’d consider “flying under the radar”

  • Growth Hormone Releasing Peptide-2
  • Growth Hormone Releasing Peptide-6
  • Melanotan II
  • Growth Hormone Releasing Hormone
  • Ipamorelin
  • Human Growth Hormone Fragment
  • Mechano Growth Factor, and
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)

The FDA has never approved any of those for use in humans, and there were likely several others that were on his sites but were not named in the FDA’s release.

Interesting that they threw DHEA into that list, which is a legal supplement, but hasn’t been “approved as a drug” as the release states.

Brazen behavior leads to capture?

Smith’s behavior was extremely bold, as demonstrated by the FDA’s release.

For instance, he was served with federal search warrants as early as August 2012 (for DNA Peptides), but then just continued operating the business out of his home through a different website (Precision Peptides).

Meanwhile, he…

  • advertised heavily in various bodybuilding magazines and conventions,
  • had sponsored athletes who promoted his products,
  • made personal claims regarding his own results from the products, and
  • provided dosing information to consumers via his website and Facebook page.

This is not exactly what you’d consider “flying under the radar”, nor is it what you’d expect for true “research chemicals”.

I ordered from them… am I in trouble?

As is almost always the case, the burden and legal ramifications lie on the seller far more often than the buyer. This case seems to be closed.

However, there is no doubt that the FDA and Department of Justice has purchase records, so if you might be on that list, you may not want to do anything to put your reputation in harm’s way. Chances are, you’re fine, but don’t be surprised if this list just “happens” to get released when you’re running for Congress next year!

What’s next?

The FDA - Food and Drug Administration

Anytime you see this logo on a PricePlow blog post, you know something bad’s probably happened

The real question here is, “Will RC (Research Chemical) sites that do fly under the radar and avoid all illegal activity be next?”

While the industry optimists want to keep believing that “not illegal” is the same as “legal”, we’re a bit more pessimistic.

The FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations (OCI) has definitely stepped up their game lately. THey are being extremely aggressive, and we’d not put any money any of these sites staying open. Chances are, they’re be hunting down suppliers and labs too.

As we said in one of the SARMS Lawsuit posts and the USPLabs Indictment post… right now just doesn’t seem like a good time to be breaking any industry laws.

About the Author: Mike Roberto

Mike Roberto

Mike Roberto is a research scientist and water sports athlete who founded PricePlow. He is a biohacker with extensive experience in supplementation and dietary modification, whose personal expertise stems from several "n=1" experiments done on himself.

Mike's goal is to bridge the gap between nutritional research scientists and non-academics who seek to better their health in a system that has catastrophically failed the public.

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  1. Levine, Ethan; “Next on Patch » New Grocery Store, Dining Out on Thanksgiving, Guns for… Florida Man Indicted for Selling Misbranded Drugs Throughout Maryland”; Bowie Patch;; June 15, 2015
  2. United States Department of Justice, “November 2. 2015: Owner of Bodybuilding Drug Companies Admits to Selling Misbranded Drugs”; US Department of Justice, District of Maryland; November 2, 2015; Retrieved from

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