Another police official caught with steroids – faces 10 years in prison
BUFFALOÂ -Â A Niagara Regional Police officer has pleaded guilty in court to exporting anabolic steroids from the United States into Canada.
The announcement came Wednesday afternoon after Const. Geoffrey Purdie, 41, of Fort Erie appeared before U.S. District Judge Richard Arcara in Buffalo. It came in the form of a press release from U.S. Attorney William Hochul Jr.'s office.
The offence carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail, a maximum $500,000 fine or some combination of both. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 28 in a Buffalo court.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Catherine Baumgarten said while employed with the NRP, Purdie - a decorated 13-year veteran who received a chief's commendation in 2007 and has helped raise money for Ronald McDonald House - entered the United States on several occasions in November and December 2011. She said he retrieved packages containing steroids that had been shipped to a private mailing company in Niagara Falls, N.Y.
On April 5, the border enforcement security unit of Homeland Security seized $580,000 of testosterone, steroids, Valium, Xanax and growth hormones in Buffalo. Purdie was originally charged with conspiracy to export controlled substances with intent to distribute them.
"It is particularly egregious when a member of law enforcement violates his oath of office in order to engage in international criminal activity," said Hochul, in the press release.
When travelling across the border, Purdie presented his official identification as a law enforcement officer to immigration agents to return to Canada.
"The defendant used his position to smuggle illegal contraband into Canada for his own financial gain," said James Spero, special agent for Homeland Security Investigations Buffalo. "Citizens of the United States and Canada need to know that they can count on law enforcement to do the jobs they entrust us to do each day. The defendant breached that trust and will be held accountable."
The plea is a culmination of an investigation by organizations on both sides of the border.
The NRP could not confirm Purdie's employment status by press deadline.
Paul Di Simoni, president and CEO of the Niagara Region Police Association, called it "an unfortunate situation for Geoff Purdie as an individual (and) it affects a lot of people.
"It has certainly had an impact on the rank-and-file members of our service," he said, adding the matter is an individual issue and "not an issue that is representative of the entire service.
Di Simoni said Purdie "has taken the first opportunity to step up and take responsibility for his role in this. It should be something that ought not to be lost in all this; he certainly hasn't delayed the process, he wants to move on.
"He's taken the (guilty) plea already." As relayed through Di Simoni, Purdie declined comment to The Standard Wednesday evening.