Woman gets 5 years in steroids case

LEBANON, Ohio —

April 9:  A judge sentenced a Cincinnati woman for her role in a steroid distribution ring.Jessica Howard was ordered to serve five years in prison after her conviction last month on two counts of drug trafficking and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.Howard was found guilty of assisting in the distribution of large amounts of anabolic steroids between June 2010 and July 2011.Federal, state and local law enforcement arrested Howard and 23 other people in connection with the steroid ring.

March 23:  One of 32 people charged in a Tri-State steroid ring went on trial Thursday.Jessica Howard is the first — and possibly only — defendant to go on trial. Many of the other people charged have already accepted pleas.Howard’s fiancé, Matthew Geraci, is the suspected ringleader of “Operation Bulk Up.” He testified against Howard Thursday, describing in detail how the operation worked.”File cabinet with steroids in them … that’s how they were shipped,” Geraci testified.Geraci also described how the drugs were dealt using a system of lockers.

“People would text me before and tell me what they wanted. … I would put it in lockers and they would come pick it up and take it out, leave the money, and later on, I would go back and get the money,” he testified.Prosecutors allege Howard delivered the drugs to the lockers from a secret room where the drugs were stashed. Geraci said only three people knew about the location.”When I’d give her a key, she’d be able to get in,” Geraci said about Howard.Prosecutors said the drugs ended up in the hands of high school athletes and that the money from the sales ended up in Howard’s pockets.”She lived off the proceeds of selling steroids,” said assistant prosecutor Andy Sievers.But Howard’s attorney said that she was nothing more than a lover and a stay-at-home mother to Geraci’s children.”Evidence will fail to prove she was a part of this Geraci steroid enterprise,” said defense attorney Frank Schiavone Jr. “She fell in love with the wrong man, who controlled her and helped her get here today.”If found guilty, Howard faces up to 20 years in prison.

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