MIAMI (WSVN) - One day after several employees of a popular Miami gym were arrested for their alleged involvement in a multi-million dollar steroid ring, Miami’s fitness community remains stunned.
According to investigators, Iron Addicts Gym owner Richard Rodriguez is accused of selling, distributing and operating a steroid ring worth over $1 million out of his own gym, located at 31 N.E. 17th St.
Investigators said the gym used a wellness website to push the illegal steroid operation. Officials added that out of the millions involved, at least $350,000 was wired to China to buy steroid powder.
Thursday morning, Iron Addicts Gym’s logo on its front door was noticeably absent. In replacement, a sign that read, “United States MARSHAL NO TRESPASSING,” was placed visibly for gym-goers to see.
Around the gym, professional bodybuilder C.T. Fletcher’s photo can still be seen on the logo and walls.
Fletcher responded to the situation in a series of three videos posted on the gym’s official Instagram, as well as a full video, which was uploaded on YouTube. In the video, he said he is not involved in any illegal activity and only let the gym use his name. “Do I regret making that decision? I sure do,” said Fletcher in the YouTube video. “I don’t want my name associated with anything like that.”
Since the gym was raided by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and U.S. Marshals, Wednesday morning, the gym will remain closed until further notice, as it remains the scene of an ongoing investigation.
U.S. Marshals said they will also seize all of the gym equipment. “It’s a bummer,” said Mati Altel, who is looking for another gym. “I just moved over here from South Beach, and this one was the best. But, right now, I need to find a different one.”
Unsuspecting gym-goers who are being turned away from the gym are in shock.
Jerome Turner, a gym member, said the gym is well-known in the community. “You see it on YouTube, man,” he said. “It’s a popular gym. A lot of people in the community came here to work out.”
And Iron Addicts Gym has an impressive following on social media, with over 47,000 followers on Instagram.
Rodriguez himself has a big following on Instagram, as well, with nearly 25,000 followers.
Wednesday morning, as Iron Addicts Gym was being raided by the DEA and U.S. Marshals, Rodriguez was found at Miami International Airport, ready to board a flight headed to Los Angeles.
Rodriguez was later arrested and taken into custody outside of his Miami Beach condo. His wife and eight other people were arrested at around the same time. Their identities have yet to be released.
Officials have not announced formal charges for Rodriguez nor the other employees. In addition, officials said, the investigation may involve connections in other states, and at least 10 suspects in total may be charged.
The U.S. Attorney in Brooklyn, New York will be taking over the investigation.
Rodriguez is expected in court, Friday.
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