A tip about suspected marijuana dealing led investigators to what is believed to be Collier County’s biggest steroid bust in years on Thursday morning.
Nicholas Munson Troemner, 28, a fitness trainer at Lifestyle Family Fitness Center, and his wife, Veronica Daniela Troemner, 29, identified in reports as a housewife, were arrested early Thursday after detectives seized about $20,000 worth of suspected steroids, along with marijuana and firearms from their North Naples home in the 5400 block of Teak Wood Drive.
“It’s more than I think anybody (involved in the bust) had ever seen,” said Lt. Harold Minch, of the Sheriff’s Office’s Vice and Narcotics Bureau. “It was the largest steroid grab we’ve had in awhile, at least in this agency.”
Nicholas Troemner was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to sell, possession of marijuana over 20 grams, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of ammunition by a convicted felon, failure to register as a convicted felon and possession of narcotic paraphernalia.
He was arrested in 2003 on a charge of carrying a concealed firearm and was sentenced to 18 months of state probation.
Veronica Troemner faces charges of possession of marijuana over 20 grams and possession of narcotic paraphernalia.
The steroid charges are pending until the Florida Department of Law Enforcement finishes running tests on the seized drugs.
Minch said the investigation began after the Sheriff’s Office received an anonymous tip regarding the Troemners dealing marijuana. Investigators began “connecting the dots,” Minch said, and started seeing evidence of steroids.
“Something like this doesn’t happen over night,” Minch said. “This was several months of work.”
Around 5:45 a.m. Thursday, detectives, along with the Sheriff’s Office’s SWAT team, executed a search warrant in the Troemners’ home, which Minch described as “shock and awe at the beginning.”
“We believe that they were fully aware of what was happening and why we were there,” Minch said. “They were very cooperative, very polite. There were no nasty exchanges.”
A search of the residence turned up around 200 vials of suspected anabolic steroids with an estimated street value of $20,000, and nearly 800 grams of marijuana with an estimated street value of $6,000, the Sheriff’s Office reported. Detectives also found narcotic paraphernalia, including two digital scales, syringes and glass vials, and several unmarked pill capsules containing an unknown white powdery substance.
They also located six firearms and numerous ammunition rounds inside the master bedroom, reports said. Additional ammunition was found in the garage area.
Lifestyle fitness staff declined comment on Nicholas Troemner’s arrest Friday.
“He’s been in the fitness business here for awhile,” Minch said. “He’s in excellent shape. He’s fairly well regarded.”
Courtney Lebel, 25, of East Naples couldn’t believe it when her mother told her that her personal trainer had been arrested on drug charges.
“I was like ‘No. It can’t be Nick. It must be somebody else,” Lebel said.
She had been scheduled to train with Troemner on Thursday night, but was told a family emergency prevented him from showing.
“Then, sure enough,” Lebel said. Troemner had been arrested hours earlier.
Lebel joined the gym in Golden Gate in October. Mostly, she just recalled Troemner always talking about his children and his family as he showed her how to use the equipment and helped develop a workout routine for her.
“You want to believe this person is living a healthy lifestyle because that’s what they’re promoting,” she said. “It’s disappointing.”
Libel said she won’t let it deter her from going back to the gym and finding another trainer. She’s disappointed, however, that the gym had hired Troemner, and said she would have thought a background check would weed out his employment based on the previous felony weapon conviction.
“I think that’s pretty serious as well… working with the public,” Libel said. “But I love the gym. It’s a nice environment and I feel safe when I go there at night,” she said.
Drugs weren’t likely being distributed at the gym, Lebel figured. “…But I’d be oblivious to that kind of thing,” she said.
Minch said steroid busts are rare in Southwest Florida because people use them quietly, typically in small groups of people who work out together. They’re not typically pushed on naive high school and middle school students, although young, impressionable athletes are sometimes interested.
“They fly under the radar,” Minch said of steroid users.
However, Minch said steroids are dangerous, which is why they are illegal.
“Yeah, it makes your muscles bigger,” Minch said, “but there are consequences as well.”