Feds raid Meridian company in steroid investigation


by Nishi Gupta Idaho's NewsChannel 7


Posted on September 25, 2009 at 9:24 AM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 14 at 4:33 PM

What federal agents found

BOISE -- Federal agents are investigating a locally-based company accused of selling illegal anabolic steroids and advertising them as dietary supplements.

On Thursday, agents served search warrants to Bodybuilding.com's corporate office in Meridian and its warehouse in Boise.

Agents with the Food and Drug Administration have been looking into the company for two years and the raid was the culmination of their investigation.

Bodybuilding.com up until now has been a success story.

The company was started by a 19-year-old out of his Boise home in 1999, and earlier this year CEO Ryan DeLuca won a regional entrepreneurial award.

"It is the typical start in the garage, by yourself and there is tons of risk and the chances of making it are so small, and to be able to actually succeed and grow a business that really matters to people, I think that helped me to win this award," said DeLuca.

But now, CEO Ryan DeLuca is winning the attention of the feds.

According to an affidavit NewsChannel 7 obtained from the U.S. Attorney's Office, an agent bought 31 products from Bodybuilding.com and 23 of them tested positive for anabolic steroids.

It also states five FDA warning letters were sent to the company over the last few years, alleging distribution of steroids and unlawful labeling on products.

The affidavit says in response to the warnings, DeLuca said he took action to advertise the products according to federal laws.

DeLuca has not responded to our requests for comment.

Instead a New York public relations firm sent us a statement, saying the company is cooperating with authorities and the products in question aren't ones they manufacture.

It's estimated the company sells $150 million worth of products every year.

In a 2006 interview, DeLuca told us he knew Bodybuilding.com was a success.

"I know what I've done is unique. I've definitely grown fast," said DeLuca. "I know I've been lucky, but I definitely know I've worked hard and stayed focused and I feel like this is just the beginning."

In the affidavit, agents say DeLuca and other corporate officers are putting their customers in danger and misleading them.

No criminal charges have been filed in this case.

Three of Bodybuilding.com's suppliers were served search warrants earlier this year.

Bodybuilding.com started in the Treasure Valley but it is no longer locally owned.

In 2008, Liberty Media purchased a controlling stake in the company for over $100 million.

Liberty Media also has interests in QVC, Ticketmaster, DIRECTV and the Atlanta Braves baseball team.