In Orlando, U.S. District Judge Gregory A. Presnell recently sentenced the last member of a 17 person steroid trafficking group. Robert Gonzalez, an Orlando native, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for his role in an Internet-based anabolic steroid trafficking ring.
The group operated out of Central Florida and used the United States Postal Service to ship packages throughout the US and internationally. Various members of the group played different roles, the indictment stated.
Less than a month ago, we saw another Florida man arrested for the distribution of steroids.
Gonzalez was found guilty by a federal jury in August for conspiracy to manufacture, distribute, and possess with the intent to distribute anabolic steroids, and for violating his supervised release on a previous federal conviction.
According to court documents, the “steroid drug trafficking conspiracy” operated from 2012 to 2014. Some of the members of the group were organizers; some were in charge of running the online sector; some were responsible for shipping; and some were responsible for handling communications with the manufacturers. Some members of the group were, according to the documents, involved in the manufacture of steroids themselves.
“The orders were made through websites maintained in foreign countries, and the steroids were processed and sent to customers from Central Florida via the United States Mail,” a U.S. Attorney’s Office news release said.
All types of steroids were sold, the documents read. Oral capsules and oil-based injectable steroids were among some of the most popular. They also sold “raw steroids” according to some news outlets.
Some of the men were charged with conspiracy to manufacture, distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances. Others were charged with additional, more severe charges. One being the conspiracy to conduct international money laundering—a charge that carries a maximum 20-year sentence.
“The indictment also notifies the defendants that the United States is seeking a money judgment in the amount of the proceeds of the drug trafficking and money laundering offenses,” the initial release said.
David Arroyo, the leader of the steroid trafficking ring, was sentenced to serve five years in federal prison. His hearing and sentencing took place in October, along with several other members of the group. The remaining fifteen defendants, excluding Arroyo and Gonzalez, pleaded guilty for their roles in the case; none received sentences akin to Arroyo’s sentence.
“The methods they were using to remit the money back to China were violations of Federal money laundering laws. Arroyo was the main guy. Sperti was the number two. They were the two ringleaders in this whole thing,” DEA Agent Jeff Walsh explained.
Sperti pleaded guilty during the early stages of the investigation.
The original indictment listed 18 names but the United States Attorney’s Office only listed 17 members total. At one point in the case, the odd-one-out was separated from the Florida group. Steven Groden was the unlisted defendant—he too was also found guilty by a federal jury instead of pleading guilty.
“This case was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Drug Enforcement Administration. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney E. Jackson Boggs Jr.,” according to the press release.