PHILADELPHIA, PA. – Keith Gidelson, a Philadelphia Police Detective, and 14 others were charged in a 17-count indictment, unsealed today, with conspiracy to distribute anabolic steroids, announced United States Attorney Zane David Memeger. Also named in the indictment are fellow police officers Joseph McIntyre and George Sambuca, Gidelson’s wife, Kirsten, Robert James Walters, Jay Guiliano, Michael Supilowski, Michael Barclay, Keith Ebner, Jeffrey Filoon, Christian Kowalko, Joel Levin, Luke Lors, Williams Schiavo, and Vaidotas Verikas.
The indictment alleges that Keith Gidelson operated an anabolic steroid and human growth hormone (“HGH”) distribution organization in Philadelphia and throughout the United States. The indictment further alleges that Gidelson acquired steroids from foreign suppliers and then sold these steroids to his co-conspirators who distributed the drugs to their own customers.
“Police officers swear an oath to uphold the law,” said Memeger. “When an officer breaks the law, no matter the infraction, he not only violates his oath, he violates the public’s trust. This indictment alleges that three officers placed personal gain ahead of their duty to protect and serve.”
“The use of anabolic steroids has been strongly correlated with life threatening illnesses; making adults more susceptible to HIV infection; higher rates for cancer and heart failure when compared to the general public,” said DEA Special Agent-in-Charge John J. Bryfonski of the Philadelphia Division.
“Alarmingly, abuse of anabolic steroids among young Americans has reached dangerous levels, placing our children at risk of heart disease, liver cancer, stunted growth, depression, eating disorders as well as increased hostility and aggression, all in a misguided effort to achieve fleeting success that too often ends in tragedy. In this case, a person who holds a position of public trust is alleged to have placed these very harmful substances into the very same hands he was entrusted to protect.”
“The anabolic steroids that are alleged to have been sold throughout Philadelphia and across the U.S. by these defendants are dangerous, illegal drugs from foreign countries, represented as legitimate pharmaceutical compounds,” said FBI Special Agent-in-Charge George C. Venizelos
“This investigation by the DEA, the FBI and the Philadelphia Police Department, through our Police Corruption Task Force, demonstrates the seriousness of the health risks these illicit imported drugs pose to those individuals who seek the artificial advantage of steroid usage.”
“It's a hard day when our own members tarnish the badge,” said Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey. "It's also a sign that we are committed, however, to fighting for our values of honor, service and integrity for all the men and women in blue who do the right thing and work every day to make Philadelphia a safer city.”
According to the indictment, Gidelson obtained monthly shipments of anabolic steroids and HGH from suppliers in Europe and China. One supplier shipped the steroids to California where defendant Robert Walters re-packaged them for shipment to Gidelson. Another supplier shipped orders of steroids to a mailbox that Gidelson has rented at a UPS store. It is further alleged that Gidelson and his wife, Kirsten, stored and packaged steroids and HGH at their home in Philadelphia. The couple allegedly met with drug customers, including defendants Michael Barclay, Keith Ebner, Jeffrey Filoon, Christian Kowalko, Joel Levin, Luke Lors, Joseph McIntyre, George Sambuca, William Schiavo, and Vaidotas Verikas, at their home and at Philadelphia-area fitness clubs, to distribute anabolic steroids and HGH in various quantities.
According to the indictment, Gidelson also distributed steroids to customers throughout the United States that he met through online weightlifting chat rooms on websites including: Steroids.com; Inject.com; Isteroids.com; and Bodybuilding.com. Gidelson also allegedly used the electronic mail service yahoo.com, and the encrypted email services hushmail.com and safemail.com to place orders and communicate with his foreign suppliers.
INFORMATION REGARDING THE DEFENDANTS:
Keith Gidelson Philadelphia, PA, 34
Kirsten Gidelson, Philadelphia, PA, 36
Robert James Walters, Folsom, CA, 50
Jay Guiliano, Philadelphia, PA, 41
Michael Supilowski, Chicago, IL, 49
Michael Barclay Philadelphia, PA, 51
Keith Ebner, Philadelphia, PA, 44
Jeffrey Filoon Philadelphia, PA, 36
Christian Kowalko, Philadelphia, PA, 38
Joel Levin, Bensalem, PA, 48
Luke Lors, Huntingdon Valley, PA, 31
Joseph McIntyre Philadelphia, PA, 36
George Sambuca Philadelphia, PA, 25
William Schiavo Philadelphia, PA, 29
Vaidotas Verikas, Wrightstown, PA 41
If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum possible sentence of ten years imprisonment, three years supervised release, a $250,000 fine, and a $100 special assessment, on each count charged.
The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Philadelphia Police Department, and the United States Postal Inspection Service. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David L. Axelrod.