OKLAHOMA CITY – A former Edmond police officer facing federal drug trafficking and international money laundering charges in connection to an investigation alleging he ran an illegal steroid trafficking ring out of his Edmond home and business fronts pleaded guilty on Tuesday.
Christopher Caplinger, 55, a retired Edmond police officer, was indicted by a federal grand jury in March on nearly two dozen counts involving possession, manufacturing, and distribution of anabolic steroids, along with maintaining a drug house and international money laundering. Donald Ray Vincent, Jr., 54, of Edmond, and two others were also indicted.
According to federal court records Caplinger ran the illegal steroid ring from early 2014 until late 2017, when federal agents raided his home in the 500 block of Benton Road in Edmond.
On Tuesday, Caplinger and Vincent pleaded guilty to both manufacturing steroids and money laundering. Caplinger agreed that his conduct involved at least 60,000 doses of anabolic steroids. He has also agreed to the forfeiture of $287,743 in currency and a $740,000 money judgment.
At sentencing, he faces up to ten years in prison for manufacturing steroids and up to twenty years for conspiring to commit money laundering. He could also be fined up to $500,000 on each count and could be on supervised release for the rest of his life.
Vincent admitted in open court on October 3 that he manufactured anabolic steroids and conspired to commit money laundering. He has agreed to forfeit $99,473 in currency. He also faces up to ten years in prison for a steroid offense and up to twenty years in prison for a money-laundering offense, as well as up to a $500,000 fine on each count of conviction, in addition to supervised released.
It’s alleged that Caplinger was the leader of the drug ring. Court documents say Caplinger purchased raw anabolic steroids from countries, like China and Turkey, and sent the drugs to an intermediary in the United States. Michael Brandon Schott of Newport News, Va., would then re-ship the product to Oklahoma City where the manufacturing and distribution would take place, according to the indictment.
In an effort to conceal the activities, prosecutors allege that Caplinger had a woman, Deborah Ann Crawford, 47, of Oklahoma City, open post office boxes for fictional companies, where payment for the steroids would be sent, as well as online PayPal accounts, for buying and selling the drugs.
Prosecutors say proceeds from the steroid sales were concealed by Caplinger and Vincent by depositing the money into a number of bank accounts in the names of others, including Crawford, as well as using state-registered automotive businesses as fronts.
According to the indictment, the drugs were shipped to a purported auto sales business run by Caplinger out of an industrial park in the 8200 block of North Classen where the drug manufacturing was finished.
Money was also stored at Caplinger’s and Vincent’s homes. Roughly $280,000 was found buried in Caplinger’s backyard, according to the indictment.
Crawford and Schott also pleaded guilty. Crawford entered a guilty plea to the money-laundering conspiracy on October 24, and Schott pleaded guilty on November 2 to conspiring to distribute anabolic steroids. They each face up to ten years in prison for a steroid offense and up to twenty years in prison for a money-laundering offense. Each also faces a fine of up to $500,000 on each count of conviction, in addition to supervised release.
Steroids, which are used by some in the bodybuilding, sport and fitness communities to promote muscle growth, are considered a Schedule III drug by the U.S. government. Possession or sale of anabolic steroids, without a valid prescription, is illegal.
The use of steroids in professional sports leagues across the country and the world have been banned. Prolonged use of steroids can have serious side effects.
Sentencing for all four will be in approximately 90 days.