Monday, March 21, 2011

Feds Investigating Illegal Steroids Use in Pittsfield

'Sting' rumored at local fitness center

by G.M. Heller
Published:
Monday, March 21, 2011, 11:30PM


Pittsfield, MA -- A federal official today confirmed a U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigation into illegal anabolic steroids use in Pittsfield in which the focus appears to be on members of a downtown Pittsfield health club/fitness center, who are alleged to have been receiving shipments via U.S. Mail of quantities of these controlled 'doping' substances that are used for bodybuilding and enhanced sports performance.

Bernadette Lundbohm, public information officer for the Boston Division of USPIS, acknowledged this afternoon the participation by Postal Inspection Service personnel in the Pittsfield investigation. "This is an ongoing investigation," Ms. Lundbohm wrote in a response to emailed questions.

An official with U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration contacted by telephone at DEA's Springfield office refused comment.

Berkshire Nautilus Fitness Center on Summer Street in Pittsfield.

A high official in the Pittsfield Police Department claimed this afternoon in a telephone call not to know anything of the USPIS investigation nor about rumors of a combined USPIS/DEA 'sting' last week at Berkshire Nautilus on Summer Street, which undercover operation is alleged to have tagged at least one PPD detective and one Massachusetts State Police trooper.

Massachusetts state law stipulates mandatory minimum prison sentences for persons convicted of any kind of offense involving controlled substances or otherwise illegal drugs within one-thousand feet of a school or daycare center.

Berkshire Nautilus
at 42 Summer Street is close by and easily within one-thousand feet of the closest childcare center, the YMCA at 292 North Street. <<<<<
Write to G.M. Heller at editor@berkshirerecord.com

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24-hour Update:
Pittsfield Mayor James M. Ruberto's office has released the following statement in response to a request for comment regarding USPIS's acknowledgment of an ongoing federal investigation into anabolic steroids use in Pittsfield.

According to Tricia Farley-Bouvier, the Mayor's Public Affairs Coordinator: "This is (sic) investigation is not being conducted by the Pittsfield Police Department. If there are any personnel issues involved here, you know of course, that the mayor would not have a comment."

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60-hour Update:
The Berkshire Eagle has now published (finally) its own confirmation of at least parts of the article above.


Officers disciplined after probe
By Conor Berry, Berkshire Eagle Staff
Thursday March 24, 2011

PITTSFIELD -- A probe into illegal steroids has resulted in disciplinary action against two police officers, one of whom works for the Pittsfield Police Department.

Authorities have identified the city officer as David P. Kirchner, a former plainclothes investigator with the Pittsfield Police Drug Unit who recently was suspended. The other law enforcement official is a Massachusetts State Police trooper, whom officials have declined to identify.

No criminal charges have been filed against either officer.

The trooper, who is stationed at the Russell barracks and is believed to live in Berkshire County, was placed on "restricted duty." That means he was stripped of his service weapon and cruiser and placed on "desk duty," according to David Procopio, a state police spokesman in Framingham.

Procopio declined to comment on whether the trooper might be charged with a crime.

"I can't comment on an ongoing investigation," he said. "I will confirm that we do have an internal investigation into allegations involving a trooper and performance-enhancing drugs."

Kirchner was suspended in connection with an investigation by an outside agency, but now is "back on the street as a patrol officer," Pittsfield Police Chief Michael J. Wynn said Wednesday.

Pittsfield police launched an internal affairs investigation that resulted in the veteran officer's suspension after the department "received information from an outside law enforcement agency," Wynn said, declining to identify the agency and the information it provided.

Wynn also would not comment on the nature of the allegations against Kirchner.

Richard M. Dohoney, the city's attorney, declined to provide any details about the suspension, including its length or whether Kirchner was paid during the deferment.

"I don't comment on personnel matters," the attorney said in a phone message Wednesday.

A woman who answered the door at Kirchner's Lenox home Wednesday morning said he was not home. The officer did not return a phone call seeking comment.

It remains unclear if Kirchner or the trooper might face charges in connection with the probe, which involved agents from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and possibly other agencies. A phone call to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to gauge that agency's involvement was not returned.

U.S. Postal Inspector Bernadette Lundbohm, in a phone message Wednesday to The Eagle, said she was "not at liberty to talk about" ongoing investigations and urged a reporter to obtain a copy of the "police report."

The Eagle has formally requested information about Kirchner's case from Pittsfield officials, who are "working on getting [the newspaper] the information we are allowed to release," mayoral aide Patricia Farley-Bouvier said in a Wednesday email message.

No criminal complaints had been filed against Kirchner as of Wednesday afternoon, according to officials in the Central Berkshire District Court clerk's office. However, a source told The Eagle that Kirchner would not be charged in connection with the steroid probe.

To reach Conor Berry:
cberry@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6249.

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Write to G.M. Heller at editor@berkshirerecord.com

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6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Hellar,
What is the best way to contact you directly?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011 6:00:00 PM  
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Blogger G.M.Heller said...

To contact me directly, email:
editor@berkshirerecord.com

Wednesday, March 23, 2011 3:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They are above the Law...and can do what ever they want. Wait till the little slimeballs are in an 8 x 12 with some of the petty druggies they locked up. F... Cops.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011 6:24:00 AM  
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