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Vandergrift man pleads guilty to role in steroid distribution ring

Jason Cato
| Thursday, June 4, 2009

A Vandergrift man pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to his role in a steroid distribution ring that made and shipped illegal performance-enhancing drugs across the nation.

David Edward Retter, 36, pleaded guilty to conspiracy. U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Schwab scheduled a sentencing hearing for Oct. 30. Retter faces 24 to 30 months in prison.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Houghton said Retter received "a complete underground anabolic steroid laboratory known as Hell Fire Labs" from two co-conspirators — Andrew W. "Heretical" Rhodes of Auburn, Wash., and Jason "Freak" Hobbs of Anderson, Ind.

After federal drug agents raided Rhodes' house, Retter "became extremely nervous about his illegal activities," Houghton said. Rhodes and Hobbs had Retter ship his lab to an Arkansas man who took over his role in the operation, Houghton said.

Retter did not comment yesterday in U.S. District Court, Downtown, other than to briefly answer questions from the judge. He agreed to being part of the ring from May 2006 to February 2008. Houghton said the ring distributed nearly 190,000 doses of steroids. The ring distributed steroids that included testosterone, methandrostenolone and nandrolone decanoate, court documents state.

Hobbs, 31, also pleaded guilty yesterday to a conspiracy charge. His sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 11.

Rhodes is scheduled to plead guilty to conspiracy on June 10.

Kristen Mealer, 36, of Timbo, Ark., pleaded guilty to conspiracy on May 12. He will be sentenced on Oct. 30.

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