A nine-count federal indictment made public last week cites a couple formerly living in Weston, Mo. as part of a multi-million-dollar conspiracy to sell anabolic steroids over the internet, including to athletes and minors. Aaron Vincent Schweidler, 31, and Nicole R. Lyne, 26, of Smithfield, N.C. previously lived in Platte County. They were arrested last week in North Carolina. Michael G. Peters, 27, of Pelham, N.H. was also taken into custody as a part of the conspiracy, while Samuel C. Miller IV, 29, of Annapolis, Md. Remains a fugitive.
The indictment, which was returned under seal by a grand jury in Kansas City, Mo. and released Thursday, Feb. 4, alleges the four named individuals participated in a conspiracy to manufacture and distribute anabolic steroids, a conspiracy to commit money laundering and a conspiracy to commit debit card fraud. The four co-defendants are also charged with three counts of debit card fraud and three counts of aggravated identity theft.
The conspiracy to manufacture and distribute anabolic steroids began on Dec. 30, 2011, according to the indictment. Conspirators allegedly operated an Internet-based company, Power Trip, which sold various anabolic steroids to customers throughout the United States, including athletes and minors.
According to the indictment, Lyne and Schweidler frequently utilized the U.S. Postal Service station at 6304 NW Barry Rd. in Platte County to ship packages to their customers. Some of the packages listed a return address for “Hype Electronics & Game Super Store,” the indictment says, but actually contained vials marked with a Power Trip label that contained anabolic steroids.
Conspirators allegedly used stolen identities (including names, Social Security numbers and birth dates, which they either purchased or stole from victims themselves) 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.
Conspirators also allegedly transferred more than $188,000 outside the United States to China, via MoneyGram and Western Union, to purchase the raw materials and other supplies to manufacture anabolic steroids.
The indictment also contains a forfeiture allegation, which would require the co-defendants to forfeit to the government any property derived from the proceeds of the alleged illegal drug trafficking, including a money judgment of at least $2.25 million.
Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, cautioned that charges contained in the indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jess E. Michaelsen. It was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Drug Enforcement Administration.