“A Columbia woman was among three people sentenced Monday in federal court on charges stemming from an international investigation into the illegal manufacturing and distribution of anabolic steroids.
April Jones, 35, of Columbia was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Nanette K. Laughrey to six months in federal prison without parole. Jones’ former husband, former Columbia resident Bryan Greggory Wilson, 40, of Kansas City was sentenced to two years and 11 months in federal prison without parole.
A third person, Jason Varner, 35, of Jefferson City was sentenced to three years of probation, including three months of home confinement.
Federal authorities said Wilson and Jones participated in a conspiracy to distribute anabolic steroids from as early as 2003 until Sept. 15, 2007. Matt Whitworth, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri, said the couple ordered steroid powders over the Internet from sources in China and made Western Union payments to China.
Wilson and Jones each pleaded guilty in August 2008 to participating in a conspiracy to distribute steroids. Wilson also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering, and Jones also pleaded guilty to money laundering.
Varner pleaded guilty in July 2008 to possessing anabolic steroids with the intent to distribute. He was arrested Sept. 19, 2007, in a commuter parking lot in Columbia where he was planning to pick up an order of anabolic steroids.
Wilson, who was identified in 2007 by Drug Enforcement Administration agents in California as an underground lab operator, was arrested Sept. 15, 2007, at the Columbia United Parcel Service store when he picked up a package from China that contained approximately 1 kilogram of raw steroid powder. Jones was arrested Sept. 24, 2007, at her home.
According to a news release from Whitworth’s office, Jones admitted that she and Wilson deposited more than $870,000 into bank accounts where they comingled drug trafficking proceeds with legitimate sources of income “in order to conceal the true source of the drug proceeds.”
Whitworth said Wilson and Jones ordered the chemicals and steroid powders online, converted the raw steroid powder to pill and liquid form and used the U.S. Postal Service and other delivery services to acquire and distribute the steroids throughout the country.
As part of the investigation in Boone County, DEA agents searched two locations — a residence and a business — and seized about 612,000 dosage units of steroids, 11.4 kilograms of raw steroid powder and $60,000 in cash. Those seizures led to the arrests of Wilson and Varner, Whitworth said.
Wilson and Jones caused multiple Western Union wire transfers as payment for anabolic steroids shipped from the Peoples Republic of China. They used bank accounts to commingle their drug trafficking proceeds with any legitimate sources of income in order to conceal the true source of the drug proceeds, and also used that money to promote the steroid distribution. From 2002 through 2007, Jones admitted they deposited a total of $874,023 into those bank accounts, including $519,402 in cash deposits.