Three Chipley, FL men plead guilty to operating steroid and counterfeit prescription drug lab

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (PR) — Three people have pled guilty for their involvement in a steroid and counterfeit prescription drug lab in Northwest Florida, announced Louis V. Franklin, Sr., United States Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama.

Ryan Anthony Sikora (24), John Joseph Bush, II (26), and Ariel Anna Murphy (29), all of Chipley, Florida, have pled guilty to conspiracy charges for importing, manufacturing, and distributing anabolic steroids as well as counterfeit prescription drugs. On Thursday, October 26, 2017, the last of the three defendants, John Bush, pled guilty before a Federal Judge in Montgomery, Alabama.

According to court documents, United States Postal Inspectors determined that large amounts of steroid and counterfeit prescription drug ingredients were being shipped from China to various locations in South Alabama and Northwest Florida.

During the investigation, law enforcement found the defendants’ illegal drug lab near Chipley, Florida. In the lab, investigators uncovered a hefty amount of steroids, including over 42,000 pills, over 3,000 liquid vials, and more than a kilogram of raw powders used to make the steroids. Law enforcement also discovered over 35,000 counterfeit prescription pills labeled as Viagra, Cialis, Accutane, and Clomid. Each of these four drugs are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and are exclusively produced by major pharmaceutical companies. They also require a prescription to be legally dispensed. The defendants mass-produced the pills at the lab using two large-scale pill presses.

The defendants marketed the counterfeit drugs online using the brand name “Future Pharma” and they would typically process the orders through encrypted email, and then use the United States Postal Service to send the contraband products across the United States.

Sikora’s sentencing is scheduled for January 18, 2018. The other two defendants are expected to be sentenced at the same time. Each defendant faces a maximum term of 15 years in federal prison, as well as significant fines and restitution.

U.S. Attorney Franklin would like to thank the following agencies for their assistance with this case: The United States Postal Inspection Service, the FDA Office of Criminal Investigations, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA), the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), the Washington County (Florida) Sheriff’s Office, and the Chipley, Florida Police Department. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Bradley Bodiford.