Taylor Hooton Foundation > Hoot’s Corner > General > A former New York City Deputy U.S. Marshal pleaded guilty to two felony counts of distributing misbranded and unauthorized drugs
September 5, 2014
A former New York City Deputy U.S. Marshal pleaded guilty to two felony counts of distributing misbranded and unauthorized drugs
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Matthew Parrella (r.) and Jeffrey Nedrow (second from r.)
A former New York City Deputy U.S. Marshal pleaded guilty to two felony counts of distributing misbranded and unauthorized drugs Wednesday in federal court in San Jose, Calif., in a case prosecuted by the U.S. Attorneys who led the BALCO steroids case that ensnared home run king Barry Bonds, Olympic star Marion Jones and other elite athletes. Aris Aristidis Vavasis was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matt Parrella and Jeff Nedrow out of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California, the Justice Department officials who spearheaded BALCO. FDA agent Jeff Novitzky — who kick-started the BALCO investigation when he worked for the Internal Revenue Service was also involved in the Nutrition Dome investigation. Vavasis acknowledged in a plea agreement that Methastadrol, a supplement sold by his Brooklyn company, Nutrition Dome, contained the anabolic steroid Methasterone, a controlled substance. Another supplement, Lipodrene, contained ephedrine, which the Food and Drug Administration says poses an unreasonable risk of illness or injury. The 2003 death of Baltimore Orioles pitcher Steve Bechler was linked to a weight-loss supplement that contained ephedrine. Vavasis also admitted that he used both his home computer and the U.S. Marshal’s computer system to operate his business, “including but not limited to communicating with purchasers, fulfilling orders, and otherwise administering the business of Nutrition Dome.” “Nutrition Dome sold and shipped purported dietary supplements in interstate commerce, including to the Northern District of California, between on or about November, 2010 and July, 2012,” reads the indictment. There are no mentions of names of users of the two drugs. According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Vavasis was released on a recognizance bond, and his sentencing hearing is scheduled for Dec. 22. He faces a maximum penalty of three years’ custody, three years’ supervised release and a fine of $10,000. “The distribution of anabolic steroids and misbranded drugs through Internet supplement companies constitutes a serious danger to the health and safety of consumers,” said U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag said in a statement. “The fact that this defendant abused his position as a Deputy United States Marshal and utilized the computer system of the United States Marshals Service in the Eastern District of New York to commit these crimes is especially disturbing.” Investigators from the New York State Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement seized hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of steroids during a raid on a Brooklyn compounding pharmacy in 2007. The pharmacy, Lowen’s of Bay Ridge, allegedly supplied steroids and other drugs to cops from the NYPD and other agencies. Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/i-team/balco-boys-grab-plea-deal-article-1.1928757#ixzz3CRrJMY6q