If they are getting tested out of comp and passing then either they are clean or the guys doing the tests are switching the samples. And of course they could have used steroids in the past, which would give them a permanent advantage due to increased satellite cells and such, which increases the potential amount of muscle you can carry.
As for IPF lifters, I don’t want to call out names of people who haven’t been caught but I can give you a few examples where I think the guy was definitely on some shit. There was one guy who set a few world records and was training with some untested guys, the suspicion was already there, but now he competes untested and won a medal at the US open. Another guy who used to keep a training log online had a hip issue, then a back issue, then something with his arm or shoulder. He went from not being able to deadlift to not being able to lift at all. Next thing you know he deleted all his training logs, moved up a weight class, and set 2 or 3 world records at IPF worlds the same year. Then you have some other guys who can barely lift 90% of their training PRs at the meet and didn’t even cut weight - what else could explain that?
I’m in favor of having tested and untested divisions. The IPF claiming to be the “gold standard” of powerlifting (plus the fools buying into that) is what is leading people to compete there and take drugs. Still, with more money coming into the sport, the problem is that if you offer substantial cash prizes for tested meets then you are giving a big incentive to cheat. I think that rather than banning people for drug use they need some severe punishments, like 100 lashes or something along those lines.
Here’s something else: Julius Maddox claims to be natural, even though he competes untested. He has some old training videos on youtube with “drug free” in the title, he was strong as hell already but I figured he had gotten into the juice. He went out and got a drug test shortly after a big training PR to prove people that he’s clean, I guess he got tired of all the comments attributing his lifts to drugs.
I find it hard to believe, but maybe possible. His training partner TD Davis set a WR at IPF bench worlds and says he’s now going to compete untested but he’s going to stay clean, he wants to compete against the best of the best. If the IPF wasn’t a total shit show then I would say he’s lying for sure, but maybe these guys are just a couple of genetic freaks. They both weigh around 400lbs too.