Sheriff's Office: Steroid ring sold drugs to high school athletes

Ronald Herbort (Source: Warren County Sheriff's Office)
Ronald Herbort (Source: Warren County Sheriff's Office)
Matthew Geraci (Source: Warren County Sheriff's Office)
Matthew Geraci (Source: Warren County Sheriff's Office)

LEBANON, OH (FOX19) - The Warren County Drug Task Force and the Warren County Prosecutor's Office say that 32 individuals have been indicted on multiple counts, including the trafficking of anabolic steroids that were being sold to Tri-State high school athletes.

"It's pretty amazing the amount of firearms, and what this organization was doing, which was peddling its poison through out the country, to include Ohio and the Tri-state region," said Agent Jim Dier of the Cincinnati ATF.

The 2-year investigation resulted in the group being indicted on multiple counts, including engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, trafficking in drugs, possession of drugs, and other related crimes.

The investigation was initiated from two complaints of possible steroid abuse at the Countryside YMCA in Lebanon, with the investigation ultimately leading to the source of the drugs and clandestine lab in Tennessee.

"A tip if you will, that someone was trying to push steroids in the cardio strength area here at countryside Y, we contacted the prosecutor's office and said where do we go from here," said Mike Carroll of the Countryside YMCA.
None of the drugs were actually distributed in the YMCA, investigators say the buyers and sellers would use lockers at a building on Reed Hartman Highway to pick up and drop off money and drugs.
"Steroids would be put in your locker, you get a key to your locker, open it up, got your steroids out, put your money in and that's how this operation started," said Commander John Burke of the Warren County Sheriff's Office.

According to Warren County officials, the steroids were coming from China in powder form and being delivered to the lab in Tennessee. Once in Tennessee, the drugs were shipped to the Tri-State where they were received by Ronald Herbort of Amelia, Ohio, a man the Warren County Sheriff's Office considers the "ring leader."

Herbort then passed them to Matthew Geraci of Cincinnati, another man who is considered a ring leader. Geraci distributed the steroids to drug pushers, who sold them to the high school athletes.

Warren County Officials say around 400 bottles of steroids were shipped at a time to the Tri-State area. They also say that professional athletes could be involved.

Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell said the undercover investigation only focused on the sellers of the anabolic steroids, not the users. Fornshell wants parents to be aware of their high school students. He says to pay close attention to their weight and if you notice your child "bulking up" or gaining a lot of weight for no reason, to have a conversation with them about the side effects of steroid use.

"Be very vigilant in determining what it is your children are doing, making sure that they understand the dangers that are affiliated long-term and short-term with steroid abuse," said Prosecutor David Fornshell, giving a warning to parents.

This case involves arrests and indictments of individuals in Warren, Clinton, Butler, Montgomery, Hamilton, and Clermont Counties.

About $600,000-worth of illegal drugs and several weapons were recovered during the investigation. Investigators say at this point they don't plan on pursuing charges to the buyers involved including the high school athletes who allegedly purchased the steroids.

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