Former Phila. detective sentenced to four years in federal prison for operating steroid ring

By Jon Campisi | Jan 18, 2013

A former well-respected Philadelphia police detective who disgraced the department

after his arrest on charges of operating an anabolic steroid ring was recently sentenced to four years in federal prison for his crimes.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania announced that Judge Paul S. Diamond, of the U.S. District Court in Philadelphia, sentenced Keith Gidelson, 36, to four years imprisonment, plus a $25,000 fine and three years of supervised release for Gidelson’s role in operating the steroid and human growth hormone distribution organization in Philadelphia and throughout the nation.

The record shows that Gidelson’s wife, Kirsten Gidelson, was sentenced to three years probation, with the first year on home confinement, and a $100 special assessment, for her participation in the conspiracy, in which her husband acquired steroids from foreign suppliers and then sold the drugs to his co-conspirators who, in turn, distributed the steroids to their own customers across the country.

Keith Gidelson had pleaded guilty to the federal charges of conspiracy to distribute anabolic steroids and 16 counts of possession with intent to distribute the drugs back in early October of last year.

According to the office of U.S. Attorney Zane Memeger, Gidelson would receive monthly shipments of steroids and human growth hormone, or “HGH,” from suppliers in Europe and China.

One of the suppliers would ship the steroids to California where defendant Robert Walters re-packaged the drugs for shipment to Gidelson, while another supplier shipped orders of steroids to a mailbox that Gidelson had rented at a UPS store.

Gidelson and his wife would store and package the drugs at their Philadelphia home, and then would meet customers either at their home or at Philadelphia-area fitness clubs where the drugs would be distributed in various quantities, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Gidelson would also distribute the drugs to customers who he met online in weightlifting chat rooms and various other websites.

Gidelson had initially faced a maximum of 10 years in prison followed by two years to a lifetime of supervised release. He also could have been made to pay a $500,000 fine.

Local newspapers had previously reported that Gidelson was still on the city’s payroll in August 2010 when an anonymous source informed police department officials about a buy the source was involved in with Gidelson.

Gidelson, a detective, was out on disability leave at the time the information came out because of injuries sustained following an on-the-job vehicle crash in 2006, said Assistant U.S. Attorney David L. Axelrod, who had prosecuted the case.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that at sentencing back on Jan. 7, Gidelson told Diamond, the judge presiding over the case, that he was sorry for his actions.

“He preened, he boasted, he bloviated,” the paper quoted Diamond as saying. “That he had served as a police officer makes his fall into criminality all the more serious.”

Gidelson was ordered to report to federal prison immediately.

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

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