Owner of Popular Miami Gym Arrested in $10 Million Steroid Ring Bust
The co-owner of a popular Miami gym was arrested Wednesday morning when federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents and U.S. Marshals raided the gym.
Agents suspected the body building gym, called Iron Addicts, was the shipping facility for a $10 million international steroid production and distribution ring.
Iron Addicts co-owner, Richard Rodriguez, and nine others in Miami and Phoenix, face steroid distribution and money laundering charges for their involvement in the ring. Seven suspects were arrested in South Florida, two in Phoenix, and one suspect remains at large.
The investigation is being led by a DEA task force in Newark, New Jersey.
"The results of this investigation send a clear message to the public: it doesn't matter if you are peddling heroin, cocaine or steroids," said Charles Kotowski, DEA chief in Newark, in a statement. "If you break the law, we will dedicate the necessary resources to put an end to this type of distribution."
As Iron Addicts Gym was being raided, Rodriguez was found at Miami International Airport, ready to board a flight headed to Los Angeles.
According to court documents, Rodriguez was the founder and CEO of the steroid company Wellness Fitness Nutrition LLC where agents had been conducting an undercover investigation.
Rodriguez alleged that WFN was compliant with FDA regulations and licensed to distribute anabolic steroids which are considered a controlled substance. During the investigation, they found out that WFN was not licensed by the DEA to distribute steroids to customers without medical prescriptions and sold it through its website, according to court documents, according to CBS Miami.
Rodriguez and his cohorts would buy illegal steroids from China, repackage them in Phoenix, and sell them through Rodriguez's Miami-based website, prosecutors say.
"The defendants made millions of dollars through the illicit online sales of anabolic steroids," said U.S. Attorney Robert L. Capers.
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