Federal agents raided a popular Miami gym early Wednesday morning, leaving a U.S. Marshal-branded “no trespassing” sign on the door and arresting its co-owner on charges of heading a $10 million international steroid production and distribution ring.
Early morning workout buffs at Iron Addicts Gym, on 31 NE 17th St., were herded against the wall by Drug Enforcement Agents, who used sledgehammers to knock down walls in the second story office, a witness wrote on Facebook.
MIAMI – Patrons at the Iron Addicts Gym in Miami said they were disrupted from their morning workouts Wednesday by DEA agents who raided the facility.
Ten people were arrested on warrants for selling anabolic steroids, including Richard Rodriguez, a part-owner of the business.
Several gym patrons posted about their experiences on Facebook and Instagram, sharing photos of DEA agents in the gym.
One man wrote on Facebook that “there is a hormone club for prescription upstairs.”
Local 10 News contacted the DEA for a statement about the raid. A DEA spokeswoman for the Miami field division said the raid was being handled out of its New Jersey office.
According to an arrest warrant, the DEA began investigating the suspects in August 2015 after a confidential informant told authorities that a Miami-based company called the Wellness, Fitness & Nutrition Network was marketing and selling anabolic steroids on its website.
Complaint and warrants in anabolic steroids sting
Records show that Rodriguez owns the company, which is not licensed to distribute anabolic steroids.
The warrant says a second confidential informant, who previously worked at WFN, provided federal authorities will information about the roles that each suspect had at WFN to manufacture and distribute the illicit steroids.
The first confidential informant pleaded guilty to a narcotics offense in Essex County, New Jersey, and is expected to receive a reduced sentence for cooperating with the DEA.
John Ferrell, who is part-owner of WFN and The Real Nutrition with Rodriguez, also owns a company called Desert Formulations, a pharmaceutical laboratory in Phoenix, Arizona, the warrant said.
Authorities said the company was the chief manufacturer of anabolic steroids for WFN.
A bank account attributed to Real Nutrition was used to launder proceeds from WFN’s sale of illicit anabolic steroids, the warrant said.
Others arrested in the case were Edward Jacob Liff, Xzavier Apodaca, Byron Oliver, Erick Vittitow, Bader Alaskari, Bernard Duran, Jonathan Gonzalez and Rodriguez’s wife, Nancy Melo-Rodriguez.
Melo-Rodriguez served as chief administrative officer of Mid-Year Management, the parent company under which Rodriguez operated WFN and Iron Addicts Gym.
A “no trespassing” sign from the U.S. Marshals Service was posted Wednesday on the front door of the gym.
“My heart’s broken,” one woman told Local 10 News. “Honestly, I was looking forward to training here. I came all the way from Europe.”
Iron Addicts was founded by famed bodybuilder C.T. Fletcher. A search of Florida records shows that the Miami location is co-owned by Richard Rodriguez, Ahmed Dawoud, Mike Rashid and Pedro Rodriguez.
via Local 10 News