MOBILE, Ala., Jan. 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- An indictment was unsealed today charging 12 defendants, including three owners of a pharmacy and four pharmacists, with participating in a conspiracy that dispensed and sold thousands of dosages of anabolic steroids - including powerful veterinary steroids approved for animal use only - to users throughout the United States, announced U.S. Attorney Deborah J. Rhodes.
The 198-count indictment alleges that pharmacists at Applied Pharmacy Services, Inc. (APS), a compounding pharmacy in Mobile, Ala., illegally dispensed these steroids and other drugs to doctors and steroid dealers in Arizona, California, Texas, Washington, Colorado, Louisiana, New York, New Jersey, South Carolina, Florida and elsewhere. The indictment further alleges that these drugs were unlawfully distributed to hundreds of users in nearly every state across the nation, including teenagers and persons under the age of 21. The indictment also charges several of the defendants with money laundering and seeks the forfeiture of $4 million in drug proceeds and eight pieces of real property.
U.S. Attorney Rhodes stated, "Each of the pharmacy owners and pharmacists named in the indictment are charged with prescribing and selling veterinary steroids, approved for cattle and livestock only, to humans. We will continue to work with the DEA, the IRS Criminal Investigation Division, and the Alabama Board of Pharmacy to ensure that medical professionals who abuse their position of trust are held accountable."
The indictment charges A. Samuel Kelley II, Jason R. Kelley, Jodi C. Silvio, J. Michael Bennett, Robin K. Kelly, J. Mallory Mallon, Roger A. Everett, Brett W. Branch, Ronald E. Winter, James A. Abernathy, Daniel C. Riedel and Jesse S. Haggard with various drug and money laundering charges. As alleged in the indictment, doctors prescribed steroids to users, either directly or through a steroid dealer. The pharmacists and owners of APS filled the prescriptions.
Thomas Wade, Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Resident-Agent-in Charge, stated that, "the Mobile Resident Office of the DEA remains committed to conducting investigations of high level drug distribution organizations operating in the Southern District of Alabama. With the support of our partner agencies here and numerous other DEA entities we were able to conduct this investigation in many different states. This organization was very different in the respect that it was a locally based source of drug distribution sending illegal drugs to other parts of the country. The traditional battle we face entails drugs coming into our community from other source areas."
Regineal D. McDaniel, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Criminal Investigation noted, "Our system of health care was founded on the trust of the public in its health care professionals and the outstanding services they provide. The system was not designed for the few rogue individuals who chose to place personal profit ahead of that trust."
The drug conspiracy and distribution counts carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Each count charging drug distribution to a person under the age of 21 carries a minimum penalty of one year and a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, as well as a $250,000 fine. The money laundering counts carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.
The indictment charges each of the defendants as follows:
* A. Samuel Kelley II, 42, of Mobile, Ala., is charged in 133 counts with drug conspiracy; drug distribution; drug distribution to a person under age 21; money laundering conspiracy; and money laundering. The indictment alleges that Samuel Kelley was President and CEO at APS, owned 30-35 percent of its shares, and was active in its day-to-day operations. The indictment alleges further that he participated in and benefitted financially from the illegal distribution and sale of steroids and other drugs to hundreds of users throughout the United States.
* Jason R. Kelley, 31, of Mobile, Ala., is charged in 129 counts with drug conspiracy; drug distribution; drug distribution to a person under age 21; money laundering conspiracy; and money laundering. The indictment alleges that Jason Kelley was APS's secretary, owned 15-20 percent of the business, and was active in its day-to-day operations. The indictment alleges further that Kelley marketed the business and benefitted financially from the illegal distribution of steroids to hundreds of users throughout the United States.
* Jodi C. Silvio, 49, of Fairhope, Ala., is charged in 62 counts with drug conspiracy; drug distribution; money laundering conspiracy; and money laundering. The indictment alleges that Silvio was treasurer of APS, owned 15-25 percent of the pharmacy, worked as a fill-in pharmacist; and that he participated in and benefitted financially from the illegal distribution of steroids.
Additionally, four APS pharmacists are charged in the indictment with drug conspiracy; drug distribution; and drug distribution to a person under age 21. The indictment charges J. Michael Bennett, 42, of Mobile, Ala., in 15 counts; Robin K. Kelly, 49, of Chattanooga, Tenn., in 21 counts; J. Mallory Mallon, 45, of Saraland, Ala., in 47 counts; and Roger A. Everett, 76, of Mobile, Ala., in 14 counts. The indictment alleges that each of these pharmacists filled and distributed numerous orders for steroids, including veterinary steroids, and other drugs to doctors, steroid dealers, and users throughout the country, some of whom were young persons under the age of 21.
Five steroid dealers are also charged in the indictment:
* Brett W. Branch, 40, of Eaton, Colo., is charged with 46 counts of drug conspiracy; drug distribution; drug distribution to a person under age 21; and money laundering conspiracy. The indictment alleges that Branch owned Infinite Health, an Internet-based business, and solicited three doctors in Greeley, Colo., to write steroid prescriptions for his customers. Many of the prescriptions included veterinary steroids. Branch, who is not a physician, decided what mix of drugs would be prescribed and sold to the user. The doctor signed the prescription form that Branch had prepared and faxed the form to APS. APS filled and shipped the orders.
* Ronald E. Winter, 51, of Greeley, Colo., is charged with 17 counts of drug conspiracy; drug distribution; and drug distribution to a person under the age of 21. The indictment alleges that Winter invested in Infinite Health and became a partner and steroid dealer with Branch. Winter recruited steroid customers at various gyms, health centers, sports clubs, spas and other locations in Colorado and Utah.
* Jesse S. Haggard, 31, of Phoenix is charged with nine counts of drug conspiracy; drug distribution; and money laundering conspiracy. The indictment alleges that Haggard was a licensed naturopathic medical doctor who took over a Phoenix steroid business. Haggard sent order forms to APS for steroids and other drugs. APS filled and shipped the orders.
* James A. Abernathy, 54, of Colorado Springs, Colo., is charged with 16 counts of drug conspiracy; drug distribution; and money laundering conspiracy. The indictment alleges that Abernathy operated Abernathy Longevity Systems, in San Diego and Body Solutions Rx in Colorado Springs. Abernathy, who is not a medical doctor, recruited persons interested in obtaining steroids and other drugs, and decided the mix of drugs the user would receive. Abernathy provided a doctor in South Carolina with a list of the drugs for the user. The South Carolina doctor wrote the requested prescriptions and faxed them to Abernathy, who in turn, sent them to APS where they were filled and shipped.
* Daniel C. Riedel, 37, of Colorado Springs is charged with eight counts of drug conspiracy and drug distribution. Riedel worked with Abernathy and personally communicated with some of the users, the South Carolina doctor, and with APS employees regarding anabolic steroid prescriptions, including orders for veterinary steroids.
An indictment is a determination by a grand jury that there is probable cause to believe that offenses have been committed by the defendants. The defendants, of course, are presumed innocent until and unless they are proven guilty at trial.
Six other co-conspirators have pleaded guilty as part of this investigation.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Donna B. Dobbins and George F. May.
|SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice|
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