>As federal prosecutors tell it, Philadelphia Police Detective Keith Gidelson had a lucrative side business running a network that illegally distributed anabolic steroids and human growth hormone.
In an indictment unsealed yesterday, Gidelson, 34, and 14 others – including Philadelphia police officers Joseph McIntyre, 36, and George Sambuca, 25 – are accused of conspiring to distribute anabolic steroids and HGH since September 2009.
The three cops – sporting tattoos and bulging biceps – were arrested early yesterday and taken to federal magistrate court in the afternoon.
Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey called it “another dark day” for the department. The arrests bring to 26 the number of city cops who have been charged with crimes since 2009.
Ramsey said the three have been suspended for 30 days with intent to dismiss. Gidelson and Sambuca were recently out on disability. Ramsey said he would seek to recover their pay if they committed the alleged offenses while on disability.
Authorities said that Gidelson ran the distribution network out of his home on Waldemire Drive in the Far Northeast and that he obtained monthly shipments of the steroids and HGH from two suppliers identified only as “Karl” and “Roger” in Europe and China.
Karl allegedly shipped the steroids to Folsom, Calif., where co-defendant Robert James Walters repackaged the drugs and shipped them to Gidelson’s house.
Roger shipped steroids to a rented mailbox Gidelson maintained at a UPS store, the indictment said.
Authorities said Gidelson and his wife, Kirsten, 36, who pleaded not guilty yesterday, stored and packaged the steroids and HGH at their home and later met with their 10 drug customers, including McIntyre and Sambuca, at their home and at area fitness clubs to distribute the steroids and HGH.
Gidelson also allegedly distributed steroids to customers throughout the United States who he met through online weightlifting chat rooms and websites.
Authorities said Gidelson and his wife, Walters and co-defendant Jay Giuliano, 41, routinely spoke on cellphones to discuss distribution activities and arrange meeting locations to distribute the steroids and HGH to customers. Giuliano pleaded not guilty yesterday.
The indictment charged that the defendants and their customers “consistently” spoke in code – often referring to the steroids as “stuff” – in order to thwart law enforcement.
For example, authorities said Gidelson sent a text message on March 4 to co-defendant Michael Barclay, 51, that read: “All new books r in brother.”
Gidelson, a 14-year veteran, was assigned to the Special Victims Unit before his disability. McIntyre, another 14-year veteran, most recently worked in the 26th District. Sambuca joined the force in 2008 and worked in the 22nd District.
Gidelson is being detained pending a bail hearing on Monday. Sambuca, who pleaded not guilty to conspiracy and distribution charges, was released on $50,000 unsecured bond. McIntyre, who was not arraigned because he wants to hire his own attorney, was also released on $50,000 bond.