According to Acting United States Attorney Tom Larson of the Western District of Missouri, the second defendant of a four person online steroid smuggling ring received a sentence in a federal court. The defendant, Aaron Vincent Schweidler, a 32-year-old from Smithfield, NC, ran a $2.25 million anabolic steroid “over the internet” conspiracy. U.S. Chief District Judge Greg Kays sentenced him to four years in federal prison without a chance of parole.
On Monday, November 7, 2016, the man pleaded guilty to his role in the manufacture and distribution of anabolic steroids, along with conspiracy to commit money laundering. Schweidler admitted that he, along with his co-workers conspirators, ran an internet “company” called Power Trip where they sold the steroids to customers throughout the United States. All co-defendants, Nicole R. Lyne, 26; Michael G. Peters, 27; and Samuel C. Miller IV, 30, pleaded guilty of the same crimes. Miller and Peters also admitted identity theft.
The operation started in 2011, in Utah, until Schweidler raised enough cash to move to North Carolina. There, he continued the business. Peters followed and served as the main co-conspirator at that time. Schweidler handed more and more responsibility to Peters who then took on Lyne and Miller.
They initially just worked the finances; the press release clarified:
“Conspirators required customers to pay for the steroids by using various debit cards. Customers used names and account numbers for these debit cards that were provided by conspirators. Conspirators used stolen identities to produce or obtain debit cards, such as Green Dot MoneyPak, MyVanilla, ReloadIT, NetSpend ReloadIT and BlackHawk. They required their customers to send payments to these cards in order to conceal and disguise the proceeds of the illegal transactions.”
In order to avoid law enforcement, the conspirators moved to Kansas City, Mo. There, they continued the operation. The steroid site grew in popularity at this time and law enforcement discovered that Schweidler personally sent $176,000, or more, to China in exchange for over 60,000 dosages of Testosterone Propionate, Halotestin, and other anabolic Steroids. Some of which came in precursor form as law enforcement found a recipe book when they raided the group.
Schweidler used the U.S. Postal Service station on Barry Road in Kansas City to ship packages to Power Trip customers. Many packages listed a return address for “Hype Electronics & Game Super Store.” Like so many cases of the same sort, the store had nothing to do with the steroids. The USPIS agents credited with investigating the case noticed “Power Trip” vials within these packages.
In addition to the four years without parole, Schweidler, according to the announcement, must forfeit property in North Carolina along with $2.25 million as the proceeds of a drug crime.
Lyne already took a plea deal and received only probation time. The other two still await their sentencing hearings.
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