Bazetta man indicted for steroids case

WARREN – Prosecutors on Monday released a court affidavit that outlines how a 22-year-old ”A” student at Youngstown State University set up an elaborate Internet business that distributed steroids and laundered money through a series of PayPal accounts.

The accounts, according to the affidavit used to arrest Joseph Stiver, who lives with his parents at 2873 Cadwallader Sonk Road, Bazetta, were set up by an associate who worked for Global Fitness on Elm Road N.E.

The associate passed on names, Social Security numbers and dates of birth of gym members to set up the accounts that held proceeds for the sale of the performance enhancing drugs, the affidavit states.

A quarter-mile away from the gym, another associate rented several storage units at E-Z Self Storage in Bazetta for a makeshift office and warehouse Stiver’s Internet business known as Mutagenic.

It was a Dec. 11 break-in at E-Z Self Storage that led to the investigation launched by Trumbull-Ashtabula Group Law Enforcement Task Force. Bazetta police found evidence of a prescription steroid known as Testosterone Cypionate, a Schedule III controlled drug, and a neatly kept workshop where different vials were stored.

A search warrant by a TAG agent revealed syringes, assorted pills believed to be Zymaplex, and information identifying an Global associate. Also found was a package addressed to the associate with a return address from a body-building company in St. Louis.

TAG developed cooperation from the two associates, who detailed the operation of Mutagenic, and how they would make deliveries and pickups, some at the Niles post office for what has been labeled an illegal enterprise run by Stiver, who pleaded not guilty Monday before Trumbull County Common Pleas Judge Ronald Rice.

The indictment was included on a special report from a Trumbull County grand jury.

Rice set a pretrial in the case for April 17, and after arguments by Stover’s attorney, Dan Keating, and assistant county prosecutor, Charles Morrow, decided to lower Stiver’s bond from $250,000 to $50,000, allowing him to be released from jail.

He had been arrested March 21 and had an initial court appearance when he was wearing a Global Fitness sweatshirt.

Rice said his Adult Probation Department would monitor Stiver on house arrest, allowing him to attend school, work and attend court appearances.

Morrow argued that nearly $180,000 seized from the attic area above Stiver’s bedroom in his parent’s home and relationship with customers could lead to him fleeing. Morrow also argued that Stiver failed to cooperate with certain authorities and attempted to conceal other funds from the business that could have financed an escape from justice.

Besides a first-degree felony charge of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, Stiver faces five counts of identity fraud, two counts of tampering with evidence and several others counts of trafficking, possession and aggravated possession of drugs – mostly the steroids. Most of the drug counts also have forfeiture specifications.