Thursday, November 03, 2011
Tips from Ohio YMCA Lead to National Steroids Bust
Dayton Daily News. More than $300,000 in vehicles and cash also were seized.
Complaints about steroids being sold to high school student-athletes at the Ralph J. Stolle Countryside YMCA in Lebanon, Ohio — one of the nation's largest Y facilities — has led law-enforcement authorities to break up a decade-old distribution ring that was operating in several states. In addition to announcing the indictment of 32 suspects who face 248 charges, nearly 100 weapons and anabolic steroids with a street value of approximately $600,000 were on display Tuesday at the Warren County Sheriff’s Office, according to the |
Authorities say the anabolic steroid ring uncovered drugs imported from China and processed at a secret lab in Tennessee to peddle to high school student-athletes and other customers across the country. Among those indicted are a bank manager, a pro wrestler and a stay-at-home mom, and one of the suspects recently died. Most do not have criminal records, unusual in drug cases. Charges include engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, trafficking drugs and drug possession.
Dubbed Operation "Bulk Up," the two-year investigation involved an undercover Drug Task Force officer making numerous visits to the Countryside YMCA weight room under the guise of working out. He reportedly purchased steroids from a suspect in April 2010; in December 2010, the seller became an informant and assisted agents from the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms bureau in Cincinnati in an arrest, the Daily News reports. Additional undercover purchases also were made, authorities said.
According to Cincinnati.com, the Warren County probe began in January 2010, when authorities received two separate complaints about steroid abuse at Countryside YMCA, which included concerns that some of the drugs were being dealt to high school athletes. Mike Carroll, president of Countryside YMCA, told reporters he immediately contacted prosecutors when he heard about the complaints. “Our desire is, of course, zero-tolerance and to try to get that element out of the Y and out of the community," he said.
James Deir, resident agent in charge of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, called this the largest steroids investigation he has seen in a long time. “It’s, bar none, unbelievable in the amount and the complexity of it,” he said at a news conference on Tuesday.
John Burke, commander of the Warren County Drug Task Force, also revealed that "there are at least two [professional athletes] we feel have an involvement in this operation. The investigation is ongoing, and there may well be charges [against the athletes]." Burke did not identify any of the high school student-athletes or their schools.