NORTH ATTLEBORO — A local man arrested in February and charged with leading a large-scale steroid distribution ring allegedly continued dealing steroids and laundering money after his arrest, the Rhode Island U.S. Attorney’s office said Monday.
David M. Esser, 47, of North Attleboro, appeared in U.S. District Court in Providence on Monday on new charges of arranging for the sale, packaging and distribution of anabolic steroids with at least one individual, the U.S. Attorney’s office said.
Esser, who had been on pretrial release since February and awaiting trial, was arrested on Friday in the new case. He was ordered detained after his appearance Monday in federal court and faces a bail revocation hearing Jan. 7.
Esser’s lawyer, Matthew Dawson of Providence, said he had “no comment,” on the latest charges.
A federal agent said in court papers that Esser moved to 145 North Washington St., in North Attleboro, after his arrest in February. The apartment was allegedly previously used by Esser as a stash house. He reportedly owns a real estate business and has a dozen properties in York, Pa.
Prosecutors say Esser’s alleged steroid distribution ring earned him at least $350,000 in two years, which he used to purchase cars, luxury goods and real estate.
At the time of his arrest in February, Esser was charged with three co-defendants, including his ex-wife. Authorities executed search warrants of Esser’s properties and say they seized over $160,000 from banks accounts and cash, and over 80 kilograms of steroids, according to court records.
It is now alleged that Esser conspired with a Virginia resident who received, prepared, packaged and shipped steroids to Esser’s customers at Esser’s direction.
The orders were arranged through various means, including text messaging and encrypted emails. Payment was made in cash or by cryptocurrency, according to prosecutors.
Esser’s alleged continued criminal conduct came to light during an unrelated federal drug trafficking investigation in Virginia. According to court documents, evidence and information allegedly included communications and information sharing between Esser and the individual in Virginia.
The communications allegedly concerned steroid orders, pricing, payment methods and shipping instructions.
It is alleged the two also communicated about Esser’s business dealings, court case and automobiles they purchased. Esser also shared photographs of a scantily clad woman he described as being his girlfriend in addition to photographs of food.
The man told authorities he was working for Esser and lived at one of his properties in York, Pa., and that Esser urged him to continue working the day after Esser was arrested in February.
“Esser urged him remain in York and to continue working with him in the distribution of steroids,” a federal agent wrote in an affidavit.
The man declined and moved to Claremont, Va., where Esser allegedly again established a relationship with him during the summer. The man told authorities Esser pressured him to help distribute steroids and paid him between $5,000 and $10,000 a week to import raw steroids from China, process it into pill and liquid form and mail the product to addresses Esser gave him, according to the affidavit.
At the time, Esser was free on unsecured bond on charges including intent to distribute controlled substances, conspiracy to distribute, possess with intent to distribute, and conspiracy to import controlled substances.
He was charged Monday with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and money laundering, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Gerard Sullivan.
Esser’s alleged criminal activity is being investigated by a team of law enforcement agencies led by federal Homeland Security Investigations.
U.S. Attorney Aaron Weisman and Homeland Security Investigations Acting Special Agent in Charge David Magdycz thanked the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and Mansfield police for their help in the investigation into Esser.