A New Hampshire man, who formerly lived in Kansas City, Mo., pleaded guilty in federal court to his role in a $2.25 million conspiracy to sell anabolic steroids over the Internet.
Michael G. Peters, 28, of Pelham, N.H., pleaded guilty before U.S. Chief District Judge Greg Kays to participating in a conspiracy to manufacture and distribute anabolic steroids and to a conspiracy to commit money laundering.
By pleading guilty, Peters admitted that he and co-conspirators operated an Internet-based company, Power Trip, which sold various anabolic steroids to customers throughout the United States.
Peters became involved in the steroids and money-laundering conspiracies in June 2012. Initially, his role was primarily to collect the illegal drug proceeds from customers who were required to pay via MoneyGram and Western Union, and also later via debit cards. 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.
Peters became more involved in purchasing supplies and assisting in the steroid manufacturing process, as well as handling online customer orders and shipping steroids to customers. Peters further acted in recruiting others to obtain their means of identification, which was used to produce various access devices that would be used to obtain the illegal drug proceeds.
In late summer 2013, Peters relocated the operation to the Kansas City, Mo., area, but relocated to North Carolina in the fall of 2014 in an effort to avoid detection of the operation.
Peters was arrested on Dec. 23, 2014, at a residence in North Carolina that was being used to manufacture and distribute illegal anabolic steroids. Peters was in possession of anabolic steroids (Oxandrolone and Methandrostenolone, Schedule III controlled substances). Also in the residence were firearms, numerous unauthorized debit cards, several vials with PowerTrip labels, a PowerTrip customer list, sheets of PowerTrip labels and various steroid product shipping labels. Peters also had a notebook that contained a handwritten recipe for the manufacture of several anabolic steroids offered for sale by PowerTrip.
During the conspiracy, Peters personally sent more than $3,000 in drug proceeds to China via Western Union and MoneyGram. Conspirators sent a total of approximately $200,000 in drug proceeds to China to purchase additional raw materials to manufacture anabolic steroids.
According to today’s plea agreement, a reasonable conservative estimate of the dosage units of anabolic steroids which were reasonably foreseeable to Peters is over 60,000 dosage units of Testosterone Propionate, Halotestin, and other anabolic steroids. This estimate is based on the ingredients and amounts indicated in the steroid recipe notebook recovered when Peters was arrested in North Carolina.
Utilizing the least expensive raw ingredients for the manufactured finished product (Testosterone Propionate), and utilizing the known dollar amount of raw ingredients purchased by Peters and other conspirators (approximately $200,000, less shipping costs), would yield nearly 1 million grams of raw materials that could manufacture approximately 90,000 vials (approximately 900,000 dosage units based upon a 10 – 100mg dosage unit per vial). PowerTrip sold this product for $25 per vial, which results in a conservative estimate of gross proceeds of at least $2.25 million in sales.
Under federal statutes, Peters is subject to a sentence of up to 30 years in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
Peters must forfeit to the government $2.25 million, which was derived from the proceeds of the illegal drug trafficking.