Federal prosecutors have struck plea deals with two more defendants who were arrested last year in a conspiracy to distribute anabolic steroids in Broome County and other states.
Kyle Clark, 30, and Jason Garcia, 21, admitted guilt Tuesday in the U.S. District Court in Binghamton, in order to resolve federal indictments for conspiracy to possess and to distribute a controlled substance. Clark and Garcia, from Georgia and Florida respectively, could face 10 years in prison when sentenced by Judge Thomas McAvoy.
Both men are among 10 defendants in the case, which was part of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s “Operation Cyber Juice” crackdown throughout 20 states in September 2015. They were arrested as part of coordinated raids by law enforcement, which also targeted locations in Endicott, Port Crane and Binghamton on Sept. 23.
BUSTED: Steroid ring spanned 5 states, based in Broome
Court papers say Clark and Garcia, along with other co-conspirators in the case, were in possession of 60,000 units or more of anabolic steroids between January 2011 and September 2015.
Anabolic steroids are synthetically produced variants of the natural hormone testosterone and can be abused in an attempt to promote muscle growth and enhance physical performance, according to the DEA. Health risks associated with using steroids include dramatic mood swings, increased feelings of hostility and impaired judgement.
The DEA says products found in underground labs are often obtained over the internet from Chinese chemical manufacturing companies and other underground labs.
“As part of the conspiracy, the defendant (Garcia) … and other co-conspirators would obtain distribution amounts of anabolic steroids from different sources of supply in China and elsewhere,” prosecutors said in Garcia’s plea agreement.
Broome County residents charged in the case were Endicott residents Paul Boylan, 31, and Derek Strassle, 32; Port Crane resident Richard Progovitz, 37; and Binghamton resident Jeremiah O’Brien, 33.
Other out-of-state conspirators were also charged as part of the same operation, prosecutors said. Among them: Ryan Root, 36, Michael Gisondi, 48, both of New Jersey; Caleb Doane, 30, of Nevada; and Kent Fletcher, 46, of Georgia.
Root, Gisondi and Fletcher have not pleaded guilty and are awaiting possible trials in Binghamton’s federal courthouse.
The defendants were arrested after a grand jury indictment was handed up Sept. 11 in federal court.
Searches by police during the Broome County investigation uncovered evidence of steroid labs, including steroids in various stages of production and packaging materials.
“These defendants were unlawfully distributing these dangerous substances and some of them engaged in international money laundering to carry on their steroids distribution ring,” said U.S. Attorney Richard Hartunian for the New York State Northern District, in a Sept. 24 statement.