News and Press Releases

Drugs Distributed at Health Clubs Throughout Western Washington

April 27, 2006

FRANKLIN CURTIS WITTER, 46, of Marysville, Washington was sentenced today to 30 months in prison and three years of supervised release for Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances. WITTER was the leader of a conspiracy to import and distribute prescription pain medication and anabolic steroids from Mexico. In sentencing WITTER, U.S. District Judge Thomas S. Zilly said a significant sentence is appropriate “given the substantial amount of drugs and the number of people who used them in their bodies.”

WITTER was indicted June 1, 2005 along with EDWARD JOHN SUDEN, 45, of Edmonds, Washington. SUDEN pleaded guilty in July 2005, and was sentenced to three years of probation. WITTER pleaded guilty in November, 2005.

According to the indictment, the men conspired to distribute Anabolic Steroids such as Methandrostenolone, Testosterone, Boldenone, Nandrolone, Stanozolol, Oxymetholone, and Trenbolone, and prescription pain medications such as Oxycodone and Hydrocodone, and the tranquilizer Diazapam. According to investigators the drugs involved in this investigation were imported from pharmacies in Tijuana, Mexico, and were distributed primarily in Snohomish County, but also as far south as Portland and as far east as Moses Lake. Some of those distributing the drugs were employed as personal trainers in Snohomish and King County gyms and fitness centers. As part of the investigation, injectable anabolic steroids were sold to undercover officers in Snohomish County.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, potential long-term consequences of anabolic steroids in men include testicular atrophy, impotence and breast enlargement. Women who use these products may develop male characteristics such as male pattern baldness, deepening of the voice and increased facial hair. Women are also at increased risk for certain cancers. Children who use these products are at risk of early onset of puberty and of premature cessation of bone growth.

In court today, WITTER’s attorney said his client started out getting and distributing the steroids as a body builder, and then became addicted to the Oxycontin, a prescription pain medication. Prosecutors estimate that WITTER distributed more than 46,000 tablets of the highly addictive narcotic. Judge Zilly will recommend to the Bureau of Prisons that WITTER receive drug treatment while incarcerated.

The international drug conspiracy was investigated for approximately one year. The FDA Office of Criminal Investigation, the Snohomish Regional Drug Task Force, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service all participated in the investigation.

Assistant United States Attorneys Sarah Vogel and Lisca Borichewski prosecuted the case. For additional information contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, Western District of Washington, at (206) 553-4110.

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