Drug Enforcement Administration

New York

Raymond P. Donovan, Special Agent in Charge

November 30, 2016

Contact: Erin Mulvey

Phone Number: (212) 337-2906

Leader Of Binghamton-Based Steroid Distribution Ring Pleads Guilty

(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 (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 -

Defendants Still Facing Charges -

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