>Bodybuilder, gym and nightclub owner pleads guilty in steroids case.

>The co-owner and manager of a Burlington gym and several other businesses pleaded guilty Thursday to possessing and distributing steroids.

Steven Emmanuel Harvalias, 26, of Creek Crossing Trail, Whitsett, was charged with possession of more than 4,000 dianabol pills and several other schedule III steroids in February 2010. Harvalias was receiving the drugs by mail delivery from India, where they are legal.

The State Bureau of Investigation, Alamance County Sheriff’s Office and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement began investigating Harvalias in November 2009. Officers watched Harvalias’ girlfriend pick up a Fed Ex package at a UPS store and deliver it to him at SuperFitness and SuperTans, Harvalias’ gym and tanning salon on Huffman Mill Road, Alamance County Assistant District Attorney Gene Morris said.

Inside the package were 2,900 dianabol pills. Harvalias led authorities to his home where he kept more steroids. He also admitted that he was selling steroids.

At the time, and while Harvalias was preparing for bodybuilding competitions, he took as many as 50 pills a day — combinations of steroids, fat burners and other drugs — his defense attorney, Rick Champion, said. But Harvalias didn’t sell to his own customers or trainers, Champion said.

“These aren’t the type of illicit drugs that ruin people’s lives,” Champion told Superior Court Judge Wayne Abernathy. “My client has never used cocaine or marijuana. He says he doesn’t want to put that kind of stuff in his body … I don’t think you’ll hear his name again except for the good things he’s doing in the community and with his business.”

Champion asked that Harvalias be sentenced to unsupervised probation.

Harvalias has no previous criminal record.

The state rejected a first-offender’s plea, which would have allowed deferred prosecution and possibly lesser charges.

“That is a lot of pills,” Morris said. “His girlfriend said she’d picked up about four packages for him within about six months before the investigation began.”

The state recommended two consecutive, suspended sentences and supervised probation.

Abernathy sentenced Harvalias to two suspended four- to five-month sentences and placed him on 12 months’ supervised probation. Harvalias was ordered to pay $600 restitution, a $250 fine and court costs. He must also submit to random drug screenings.

After four months Harvalias can be transferred to unsupervised probation if he is in compliance with the terms of his probation.

In addition to SuperFitness and SuperTans, Harvalias is also co-owner of Club Kryptonite and Ikon VIP Ultra Lounge.

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