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NEW YORK NEWS

November 30, 2016
Contact: Public Information Officer
Number: 212-337-2906
@DEANewYorkDiv

Leader of Binghamton-Based Steroid Distribution Ring Pleads Guilty

NOV 30 (BINGHAMTON, N.Y.)  - Ryan Root, age 37, of West New York, New Jersey, and formerly of Binghamton, New York, pleaded guilty today to conspiring to distribute anabolic steroids and commit international money laundering. 

The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Richard S. Hartunian; Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt, New York Division, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); New York State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II; and Inspector in Charge Shelly A. Binkowski, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Boston Division.

As part of his plea, Root admitted that between January 2011 and September 2015, he purchased distribution-size quantities of anabolic steroids from China.  He arranged for the steroids to be shipped directly to him and to co-conspirators, and then for the steroids to be shipped and resold throughout the United States.  He also wired money to China and directed other co-conspirators to do so.  

U.S. Attorney Richard S. Hartunian said: “Anabolic steroids are controlled substances that pose significant health risks when used unlawfully.  Root and his organization obtained these dangerous substances from China and then distributed them throughout the country, imperiling all who purchased them.  Thanks to outstanding teamwork among federal and state agencies, Root and his co-conspirators are being held accountable.”

DEA Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt said: “Using steroids or any synthetically derived controlled substance without regulation is like playing Russian roulette.  Root used his drug trafficking organization to distribute unregulated anabolic steroids, putting other people’s lives at risk.  By working with our law enforcement partners, this organization was dismantled.”

New York State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II said: “This investigation uncovered a large conspiracy to illegally acquire and distribute anabolic steroids, which exposed users to potentially dangerous health risks. The ongoing collaboration between state and federal agencies was a critical factor in the success of this case, and I thank our federal partners for their outstanding work.”

Postal Inspector in Charge Shelly A. Binkowski said: “The U.S. Postal Service is in the business of moving the mail and has no interest in being involved in the distribution of illegal drugs.  Anabolic steroids are a controlled substance and like any other illegal drug, we want to keep them out of the U.S. Mail and away from the general public who may not be aware of the full risks associated with their use.  I commend all of our law enforcement partners who came together to bring these criminals to justice.”

Root and nine co-conspirators were arrested on September 23, 2015.  Root is the eighth defendant to plead guilty in this case.  The two defendants whose charges are not resolved, Kent Fletcher and Michael Gisondi, are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The name of each defendant is set forth in the chart below, along with each defendant’s age, place of residence, charges, and the maximum penalties they face.  None of the defendants who have pleaded guilty have been sentenced yet.  A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, and other factors.  Senior U.S. District Judge Thomas J. McAvoy will sentence Root on March 13, 2017.

This case is the result of a joint investigation conducted by the DEA, the New York State Police, and the United States Postal Inspection Service.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Solomon B. Shinerock.

Defendants Who Have Pleaded Guilty

Name

Age

Residence

Charges

Maximum Term of Imprisonment

Boylan, Paul

32

Endicott, New York

Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Anabolic Steroids and International Money Laundering

20 years

Clark, Kyle

31

Dallas, Texas

Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Anabolic Steroids

 

10 years

 

Doane, Caleb

31

Rancho Cucamonga, California

Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Anabolic Steroids and International Money Laundering

20 years

Garcia, Jason

22

Duluth, Georgia

Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Anabolic Steroids

10 years

O’Brien, Jeremiah

35

Binghamton, New York

Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Anabolic Steroids

10 years

Progovitz, Richard

38

Owego, New York

Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Anabolic Steroids

10 years

Root, Ryan

37

West New York, NJ

Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Anabolic Steroids and International Money Laundering

20 years

Strassle, Derek

33

Endicott, New York

Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Anabolic Steroids and International Money Laundering

20 years

 

Defendants Still Facing Charges

Name

Age

Residence

Charges

Maximum Potential Term of Imprisonment

Fletcher, Kent

48

Alpharetta, Georgia

Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Anabolic Steroids and International Money Laundering

20 years

Gisondi, Michael

50

Belleville, New Jersey

Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Anabolic Steroids

10 years



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