Feds: 4 charged in steroid import conspiracy

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Four people have been arrested in connection with what federal authorities say was an extensive scheme to import large amounts of steroids primarily from Hong Kong for redistribution to customers across the U.S.

David Esser, 46, of North Attleborough, Massachusetts, was the ringleader, the U.S. attorney's office in Rhode Island said.

The raw steroids were cooked into liquid form, repackaged, and shipped through several post offices, including Providence, Rhode Island's main post office, prosecutors said.

To disguise the source of the cash, the money was moved from bank account to bank account, and used to purchase vehicles, properties and other items.

A search yielded an estimated 143,000 steroid pills and 4,300 vials of steroids in liquid form, prosecutors said.

The others arrested were James McLaughlin, 34, and Alison Shepherd, 41, both of North Attleborough, and Mason Nieves, 27, of Providence.

All four suspects face several drug charges as well as wire fraud and money laundering charges. They were all released on unsecured bond after an initial court appearance Wednesday. No pleas were entered.

Esser refused comment as he left court, according to WJAR-TV. Attorneys for the other suspects declined comment, according to The Sun Chronicle.

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