Steroid Kingpin of YMCA “Operation Bulk-Up” Investigation Pleads Guilty

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The kingpin of the YMCA “Operation Bulk-Up” anabolic steroid investigation has pleaded guilty to twelve felony charges in Warren County Common Pleas Court (Ohio).  Ronald Herbort pleaded guilty to nine felony counts of trafficking in drugs (anabolic steroids), two felony counts of possession of drugs (anabolic steroids) and one felony count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.

“Operation Bulk-Up” was the two-year undercover investigation involving steroid distribution at the Countryside YMCA in Lebanon (Ohio). The Warren County Drug Task Force arrested thirty-two individuals link to the steroid ring.

Ronald Herbort was identified as the primary steroid kingpin of the operation and his main distributor, Matthew Geraci, was identified as a secondary kingpin.

Herbort admitting importing anabolic steroids from an underground laboratory (UGL) in Tennessee. The Tennesse UGL manufactured injectable and oral steroids using raw steroid powders imported from China chemical sources.

Police seized an estimated $600,000 worth of anabolic steroids and $300,000 in cash after searching the homes and businesses of the co-defendants in the case.

The injectable anabolic steroids produced by the UGL were sold to end customers at prices between $85 and $125 per vial. The cost to manufacture each vial was approximately $25 according to investigators.

Herbort is scheduled to be sentenced on June 18, 2012. Herbort has reportedly been cooperating with prosecutors according to Andy Sievers, an assistant Warren County prosecutor. It is possible that Herbort will receive a reduced sentence as a result.

Most of the other co-defendants in the “Operation Bulk-Up” steroid ring have been given probation after pleading guilty or receiving a court-approved “intervention”.

One exception was Jessica Howard. Howard decided to go to court instead of pleading guilty. She had claimed that she was not a significant player in the steroid operation and was only prosecuted due to her status as the fiancée of secondary kingpin Matthew Geraci. However, Geraci sealed her fate when he decided to testify against her.

Howard was found guilty of trafficking in anabolic steroids and engaging in corrupt activity under Ohio state law and was sentenced to five years in prison.

Her fiance Geraci has also requested a  jury trial. He has a June court date as he face thirty felony counts of trafficking in drugs (steroids), possession of drugs (steroids) and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.



McKibben, P. (April 30, 2012). Steroid kingpin pleads guilty to 12 counts. Retrieved from