News and Press Releases

Two Luzerne County Men Arrested for Allegedly Importing and Trafficking GBL and Steroids

June 20, 2011

     The United States Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, announced that two men indicted by a federal grand jury on June 7, 2011, were arrested on Friday, June 17. The six-count indictment charges the Luzerne County men with participating in a scheme to import and distribute gamma butyrolactone (GBL), and possessing and distributing anabolic steroids.

     According to United States Attorney Peter J. Smith, Peter Sepling, age 40, of Nanticoke, and John Nikoloff, age 25, of West Wyoming, were charged with importing GBL from China; conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute GBL; possession with intent to distribute GBL; and attempting to smuggle GBL into the United States. The grand jury also charged Sepling with possession with intent to distribute anabolic steroids, and charged Nikoloff with possession of anabolic steroids.

     The charges stem from an investigation by special agents of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Officers, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents, and the Pennsylvania State Police.

     U.S. Attorney Smith noted that each of the defendants faces a potential maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million, if convicted of the GBL importation or trafficking charges. Each defendant faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted of the smuggling charge. Sepling also faces a potential maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $500,000 fine if convicted of the steroid trafficking charge.

     Both defendants were arraigned Friday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Malachy E. Mannion in Wilkes-Barre. Sepling was ordered detained without bail pending trial. Nikoloff was detained pending a detention hearing today. He was later released with pre-trial services supervision.

     U.S. Attorney Smith noted that Assistant United States Attorney Francis P. Sempa is prosecuting the cases.

An Indictment or Information is not evidence of guilt but simply a description of the charge made by the Grand Jury and/or United States Attorney against a defendant. A charged Defendant is presumed innocent until a jury returns a unanimous finding that the United States has proven the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt or until the defendant has pled guilty to the charges.

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