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Champion bodybuilder from Pittsburgh admits role in drug ring

Jason Cato
| Tuesday, June 16, 2009, 12:00 p.m.

A bodybuilder once crowned Mr. Pittsburgh for his weightlifting prowess pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to his part in a prescription-drug ring.

Nick Morobitto, 31, formerly of Baldwin, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to illegally sell oxycodone, a potentially addictive painkiller with effects similar to morphine and heroin. U.S. District Judge Terrence McVerry scheduled sentencing for Sept. 25.

Morobitto's plea deal was filed under seal. Neither he nor his attorney, Martin Dietz, spoke after the hearing.

Also charged as part of the case is Morobitto's high school friend, Matthew Warhola, 32, of Mt. Lebanon, and Justin Swoger, 31, of Smithton. Swoger pleaded guilty in September. Warhola is scheduled to plead guilty July 1.

The group sold OxyContin tablets from August 2006 to April 2007, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Nescott. U.S. Postal Inspectors in Pittsburgh became suspicious of a number of packages being mailed to "Liberty Wresting" at a UPS store in Bethel Park from an address in Las Vegas, where Morobitto now lives.

Federal agents tracked about 30 packages sent from Nevada to Pittsburgh, and 17 from Pittsburgh to Las Vegas. The inbound packages were believed to contain prescription drugs, with the outbound packages containing money, Nescott said.

Agents opened one of the incoming packages in April 2007 and discovered 114 OxyContin pills with a street value of about $7,000, Nescott said. OxyContin tablets sold on the street for about $1 per milligram at the time, Nescott said.

Morobitto won the 2002 Mr. Pittsburgh bodybuilding competition in the heavyweight and overall champion closed categories. That year he was named Upper Ohio Valley heavyweight and overall champion. In 2004, he placed 14th in the heavyweight division at Junior Nationals.

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