Saugus man pleads guilty to role in counterfeit steroid conspiracy
(Editor’s Note: This is a copy of a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston on a recent guilty plea by a Saugus man on federal drug charges.)
BOSTON – A Saugus man pleaded guilty last week in federal court in Boston to his role in a conspiracy to traffic counterfeit steroids, including testosterone and trenbolone.
Brian Petzke, 49, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. U.S. District Court Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton scheduled sentencing for May 8. Petzke and five others, including Tyler Bauman, a/k/a “musclehead 320,” were arrested and charged in April 2017 with operating a counterfeit steroid operation on the North Shore.
From approximately May 2015 until April 12, 2017, the defendants manufactured steroid products – made from raw materials purchased overseas – and marketed them as “Onyx” steroids using “Onyx” labels that were also ordered from overseas suppliers. Onyx, now owned by Amgen Inc., was a legitimate pharmaceutical company that did not manufacture steroids.
The defendants allegedly sold the steroids to customers across the United States using email and social media platforms, collected payment through money remitters, such as Western Union and MoneyGram, and used false identifications and multiple remitter locations to pick up the proceeds. Some of the defendants laundered proceeds from the steroid sales through Wicked Tan LLC, a tanning business located in Beverly, which they owned and operated specifically to launder the proceeds of the steroid operation.
Petzke is the final defendant to plead guilty in connection with the conspiracy. In August 2017, Bauman pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy and is scheduled to be sentenced on March 15.
The charge of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances provides for a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss of the conspiracy. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Michael Shea, Acting Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; Shelly Binkowski, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; and Jeffrey Ebersole, Special Agent in Charge of the Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations, New York Field Office, made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Amy Harman Burkart and David J. D’Addio of Lelling’s Cybercrime Unit are prosecuting the case.