Posted: 6:21 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012

Ex-Mr. Ohio final steroid ring member sentenced


Complaint about activity at YMCA sparked steroid ring investigation photo
Anabolic Steroids worth a reported $600,000 were seized by agencies including the Warren County drug task force, during a 2-year investigation which resulted in the indictment of multiple people in a 'high-level' steroid trafficking ring.
Complaint about activity at YMCA sparked steroid ring investigation photo
John Burke, commander of the Warren County, Ohio, drug task force, address the media regarding the 'high-level' steroid trafficking ring.

By Denise G. Callahan


All of the players in the Warren County steroid ring dubbed “Operation Bulk-Up” have now been adjudicated.

Drew Smith, a former body-building champion who was crowned Mr. Ohio in 2009, was sentenced to 60 days in jail Wednesday by Judge Robert Peeler. He was the last of 29 defendants to be sentenced after the two-year sting operation ended a year ago.

Smith was indicted on 18 counts of drug trafficking and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity. He pleaded guilty to eight of the trafficking charges and the corrupt activity count in September.

The Warren County Drug Task Force originally rounded up 32 people who were connected to the steroid trafficking operation.

In all, two people went to trial, 25 pleaded guilty, one man’s case was dismissed and he was tried in Hamilton County, and one man is dead, according to Assistant Prosecutor Andy Sievers.

Sievers said some original defendants cooperated with the investigation so their cases were dismissed. All tolled, 13 people will serve a total of 41 years in prison, others spent some time in the county jail and a few were given probation or intervention in lieu of conviction.

Smith, 29, of Germantown, was not the kingpin of the operation. He came into the picture while police and prosecutors were investigating the cases, Sievers said. The main target for the drug task force was Ronald Herbort, 46, of Amelia.

Herbort was importing the drugs from China, cutting them with olive oil to make them injectable and then turned them over to Matthew Geraci for sale, according to Warren County Drug Task Force Commander John Burke.

The investigation started with a tip that people were selling steroids to high school athletes out of the Countryside YMCA in Lebanon. An undercover officer also bought drugs from a member of the Urban Active facility in Deerfield Twp. Both the Y and the fitness center said their employees were not involved in the network and they had no knowledge of the activities.

The Task Force sent an undercover agent into the YMCA and that person infiltrated the operation all the way up to its highest level, Burke said.

“We got ourselves involved in a much bigger operation that encompassed Clermont, Hamilton and Warren counties,” he said. “There was a very organized business, I would say, where they had meetings and talked about profits and losses and how they can sell more product. It was kind of like you would have at a legitimate business.”

The investigation led them to Herbort, who was operating out of a double-wide trailer in Manchester, Tenn. Herbort pleaded guilty earlier this year and was sentenced to five years in prison.

Steroid ring cases

Name Age Residence Sentence

Ronald Herbort, 46, Amelia – 5 years prison

Matthew Geraci , 38, Cincinnati – 3 years prison

Jessica Howard, 28, Cincinnati – 5 years prison

Jason Sherrill, 31, Tullahoma, TN – 5 years prison

Kenneth Freeman, 44, Manchester, TN – 4 years prison

Michael Lee, 44, Miamisburg - 4 years prison

Tim Mielke, 33, Cincinnati - 3 years and 9 months prison

Kris Scheid, 33, Hamilton – 3 years prison

Stephanie Sherrill, 27, Tullahoma, TN – 2 years prison

Michael Dorazio, 49, Maineville – 2 years prison

Richard Blevins, 34, Maineville – 2 years prison

Chad Taylor, 37, Cincinnati – 2 years prison

Tina Reifenberger, 27, Middletown – 1 year prison

Drew Smith, 29, Germantown – 60 days in jail

Cory McIntosh, 29, Lebanon – 60 days jail; 60 days house arrest

Joshua Haberstroh, 38, Mason – 30 days jail

Brian Robinson, 37, Cincinnati – 30 days house arrest

Brett Peterson, 24, Cincinnati – 10 days jail

Ryan Segerberg, 32, Cincinnati – 10 days jail

Joseph Lochard, 38, Hamilton – 3 years probation

Matt Donohoe, 25, Coldspring, Ky. – 3 years probation

Jerod Turner, 30, Wilmington – 3 years probation

Daniel Lovejoy, 43, Lebanon – 3 years probation

Phillip Payton, 24, Waynesville - Intervention in lieu of conviction

Tony Kaiser, 36, Cincinnati – Intervention in lieu of conviction

Bret Hebenstreit, 36, Cincinnati – Intervention in lieu of conviction

Jordan Dyer, 34, Oregonia – Intervention in lieu of conviction

Rick Cantrell, 42, Cincinnati – case dismissed – prosecuted in Hamilton County

Charlie Godsey, Lebanon – deceased


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