Jon Campisi Oct. 11, 2012, 10:22am

A once respected Philadelphia police detective pleaded guilty in federal court on Tuesday

to his part in a steroid distribution ring.

Keith Gidelson, 36, of Philadelphia, operated an anabolic steroid and human growth hormone distribution organization in the city, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

The former cop had obtained shipments of anabolic steroids from suppliers in Europe and China, with one of the suppliers shipping the drugs to California where another defendant in the case, Robert Walters, would repackage the steroids for shipment to Gidelson in Philadelphia, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced in an Oct. 9 news release.

Another supplier shipped orders of steroids to a mailbox Gidelson had rented at a local UPS store; Gidelson stored and packaged the drugs in his Philadelphia home.

Gidelson would meet with clients at their homes, and also at various Philadelphia-area health clubs, where the steroids would be distributed in various quantities, the U.S. Attorney’s Office stated.

The former police detective also distributed steroids to customers throughout the country who he had met on fitness related Internet chat rooms.

Gidelson faces a maximum of 10 years in federal prison, followed by two years to a lifetime of supervised release and a $500,000 fine.

Gidelson, who is to be sentenced in January by U.S. District Judge Paul S. Diamond, was still on the city payroll in August 2010 when an anonymous source informed police officials about a buy he was involved in with Gidelson, although the detective was out on disability leave at the time, Assistant U.S. Attorney David L. Axelrod, who was prosecuting the case, told the judge, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The newspaper reported that Gidelson, who was the 14th out of 15 defendants in the case to plead guilty, became involved in drug sales following his addiction to pain killers stemming from injuries sustained in an on-duty vehicle crash back in 2006.

Other personal problems also contributed toward his entry into steroid sales, the paper reported, attributing the information to Nino V. Tinari, Gidelson’s lawyer.

The case was investigated by the FBI, DEA, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Philadelphia Police Department.

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