A steroids-dealer-turned-informant helped investigators nab a former Paw Paw police officer earlier this year after he set up a drug deal with the officer through a mutual acquaintance and “middle man,” according to testimony Friday in Van Buren County District Court.
Tom Radke, 39, of Vicksburg, testified that he met with Aaron DiPrima, 33, on March 11 at Brewster’s restaurant in Paw Paw and exchanged tablets of Fluoxymesterone, an anabolic steroid, for $100 in cash.
Radke said DiPrima, who owns Strength Beyond gym in Paw Paw, planned to deliver the pills to Robert P. Kusmack, 33, who was an officer with the Paw Paw Police Department.
At the time of the alleged drug deal, Radke’s contact with DiPrima was recorded and Radke was working with the West Michigan Enforcement Team, a Michigan State Police drug unit, and the Kalamazoo Valley Enforcement Team, which had seized steroids and other items at Radke’s Vicksburg residence on March 8.
Radke, who has not been charged in connection with the case, was one of six witnesses who testified at a probable-cause hearing for Kusmack in Van Buren County District Court.
Kusmack, who is free on a personal-recognizance bond, is charged with one count of possession of Fluoxymesterone, a two-year felony. Kusmack was terminated from the Paw Paw Police Department in May.
At the conclusion of Friday’s hearing, District Judge Robert T. Hentchel ordered Kusmack to stand trial. Kusmack is scheduled to be arraigned Nov. 8 in Van Buren County Circuit Court.
DiPrima, who was called to the stand after Radke, testified that he met with Kusmack at Brewster’s after receiving the steroids from Radke. He said he tossed a bag containing the Fluoxymesterone tablets into Kusmack’s police cruiser, which was parked outside the restaurant’s rear entrance.
Shortly after Kusmack left, police approached DiPrima inside Brewster’s. DiPrima pleaded guilty in June to possession of an analogue, a two-year felony, and was sentenced Aug. 23 under section 7411 of the Michigan Public Health Code to one year of probation, 60 hours of community service and ordered to pay court costs.
As part of his plea agreement, DiPrima agreed to cooperate with prosecutors and testify against Kusmack. The felony charge will be removed from Diprima’s record if he successfully completes probation.
After Kusmack left Brewster’s, state police stopped him a short distance from the restaurant, said Detective Sgt. Ray Durham of the Michigan State Police.
Durham said he and a fellow trooper spotted Kusmack after he left Brewster’s and waved him over to their cruiser. Durham said Kusmack was arrested at the scene and Durham conducted a search of Kusmack’s cruiser.
“We believed there were illegal drugs in the vehicle,” Durham said. “Mr. Kusmack stated that there were.” Durham said he recovered a bag of pills from Kusmack’s cruiser and turned them over to MSP Lt. Michael Anderson of the West Michigan Enforcement Team.
One of the tablets found in Kusmack’s cruiser tested positive as Fluoxymesterone, according to MSP Forensic Scientist Kimberly Zebrowski, who testified Friday.
Police documents obtained by the Kalamazoo Gazette under the Freedom of Information Act show that a tipster told police that Radke ran a lucrative steroids-distribution enterprise that supplied a client base that is alleged to have included police officers.
Radke, according to the documents and testimony on Friday, began working with police after he was detained on March 8 by KVET and an agent with the U.S. Mail Inspection Service outside a Portage post office.
Radke was at the post office to pick up a package of 50 vials of human growth hormone powder shipped from Hong Kong, according to a search warrant affidavit.
Radke eventually led KVET and WEMET to Kusmack, DiPrima and Fred Milton Jr., an 11-year veteran of the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety. Milton resigned May 4, the day Public Safety Chief Jeff Hadley was scheduled to discipline him.
DiPrima and Kusmack, at this point, are the only two suspects charged in connection with the steroids probe. Public Safety officials have said they’ve closed their case and don’t plan to pursue any other charges.