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Pennsylvania gym owner facing drug charges

Police in Pennsylvania have reported that a 46-year-old man was taken into custody on March 16 on drug charges after search warrants were executed at his residence and place of business. Authorities say that their investigation began in April 2014, and it was prompted by a number of tips about suspicious activity received from patrons who frequented the man's Lehigh Valley fitness center. After being taken into custody, the man was transported to a Berks County detention facility. His bail has been set at $250,000.

The police investigation focused on the distribution of anabolic steroids to gym patrons, but officers say that quantities of cocaine and methamphetamine were also discovered during their searches. Prosecutors say that the man ran a youth boxing program in addition to operating the gym, but they say that they have not discovered any evidence indicating that drugs were sold to minors.

The search warrants were executed at approximately 5:30 p.m. at the man's Shillington fitness center and Mohnton home. The search of the gym is said to have led to the discovery of an undisclosed amount of anabolic steroids as well as 66 grams of cocaine and 84 grams of methamphetamine. The search of the man's residence is said to have yielded small amounts of cocaine and steroids. Prosecutors say that syringes and drug paraphernalia were also recovered.

The penalties for drug crimes can be severe in Pennsylvania, and even first-time offenders may face mandatory jail time if convicted. However, prosecutors must first be prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. A criminal defense attorney may closely scrutinize search warrants and police reports to ensure that constitutional protections have not been violated. An attorney could also seek to have drug charges reduced by bringing mitigating factors to the attention of prosecutors during plea negotiations.

Source: NBC Philadelphia, "Berks County Gym Owner Accused of Selling Steroids, Cocaines," David Chang, March 17, 2015

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