DEERFIELD BEACH — Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO) employees made up the bulk of local customers who obtained steroids from a now defunct pharmaceutical company.
According to internal BSO documents, more than a dozen sheriff’s deputies purchased steroids, growth hormones and other drugs through questionable prescriptions between 2005 and 2008 from a now-defunct company whose owner is in federal custody.
The case involves PowerMedica, a Deerfield Beach-based pharmaceutical company that illegally distributed the drugs to online and in-person customers. It specialized in anti-aging, growth hormone and muscle-building drugs. The company is now out of business and its owner is serving time in a federal lock-up as a cooperating witness.
Following years of undercover investigations, the Broward Sheriff’s Office and agents with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration raided PowerMedica in 2005. The records seized included invoices that showed numerous law enforcement officers from around the country obtained steroids from the company.
Nineteen of them were Broward Sheriff’s Office employees.
BSO officials said an internal investigation into the matter is still ongoing and, therefore, they are not releasing any documents related to the case. When South Florida Times asked why the case has dragged on since 2005, BSO Media Relations Director Jim Leljedal responded in an e-mail, “We’re done with this,” and would not comment further.
The case was sent to the Broward State Attorney’s Office (SAO) for consideration years ago, but was withdrawn pending the outcome of BSO's internal investigation.
In an earlier interview, Ron Ishoy, spokesman for the State Attorney’s Office, said
Tim Donnelly, director of the SAO’s Special Investigations Division, recalled that his office had been asked informally for guidance by BSO about PowerMedica but that BSO, then headed by Ken Jenne, decided to handle the case administratively. The SAO did not open a file on the matter.
After the 2005 raid, PowerMedica’s owner and founder, Daniel L. Daily, 51, transferred his operations to another Deerfield Beach company he founded called Metragen. He later attempted to get licensed for a third pharmaceutical company he founded called Wonderyears Inc., but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration rejected the application in 2007.
Deputies posing as customers continued to make undercover purchases from Daily’s company until March 2007, when federal authorities arrested and charged him. Three years later, he pleaded guilty and began cooperating with federal authorities.
The Food and Drug Administration declined comment when asked about the status of the investigation.
“I checked into this and any inquiries regarding this matter need to be addressed by the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida,” said Shelley L. Burgess, a public affairs specialist with the FDA.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami declined to comment.
It is unclear if any BSO deputies are the target of the ongoing federal investigations. However, some of them hold the ranks of sergeants, captains, and lieutenants. Others are under consideration for promotions and at least one supervised a subsequent and separate internal investigation into steroid purchases by deputies.
That investigation, which is also under internal review, involves 15 deputies who also obtained steroids from PowerMedica, but through local clinics.
According to internal BSO documents obtained by South Florida Times, customers of PowerMedica included celebrities, members of the military, law enforcement officers, firefighters and lifeguards from around the country.
Besides BSO deputies, the list of local customers includes employees from the cities of West Palm Beach, North Lauderdale, Pompano Beach, Lauderhill, Hialeah, Lake Worth, the Palm Beach County School District, Broward County and Fort Lauderdale.
According to sources, those agencies were notified of their employees’ alleged involvement with PowerMedica as far back as 2005, shortly after the raid took place.
“We received a phone call from the FDA and we immediately began our own investigation,” Fort Lauderdale Police spokesman Detective Travis Mandell said. “BSO didn’t send us any records, but our officers were cleared.”