NYPD officers allegedly linked to steroid ring supplying pro athletes

By Mike Jaccarino, Michael O''Keefe and Alison Gendar
Daily News Staff Writers

NEW YORK — At least six city cops allegedly bought steroids from an illegal drug ring linked to Major League Baseball players and other pro athletes, sources told the Daily News.

The cops'' stunning connection to the drug ring emerged yesterday after investigators raided Lowen''s Compounding Pharmacy in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, seizing about $8 million worth of steroids and human growth hormone, sources said.

"It''s all injectable, at some $7 a shot, and more than a million shots were recovered," a source said.

Investigators from the state Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement first raided the pharmacy in May, seizing medical records and about $200,000 worth of performance-enhancing drugs.

On their return visit late Monday, state narcotics agents brought along investigators from the NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau to pore over medical records of cops who allegedly purchased anabolic steroids from the pharmacy, sources said.

The Internal Affairs officers reviewed the records of 27 current and former cops, including a chief. They determined at least six cops had questionable purchases, but discovered the chief had actually bought a topical cream, sources said.

The Internal Affairs probe is ongoing, and the tally of cops could grow, a law enforcement source said.

The raid was part of a probe launched by Albany District Attorney David Soares into illegal Internet prescription drug sales that has brought 22 indictments and nine convictions. Investigators have also questioned several major league ballplayers.

Investigators believe staff at Lowen''s imported Chinese steroids and other raw materials. Doctors then faxed in prescriptions for thousands of customers. Steroids and hGH were sent to buyers in New York and other states.

Cops believe Lowen''s may have done as much as $30 million worth of business in the illegal drugs in the past year alone.

John Rossi, a co-owner of Lowen''s, said he had no role in the pharmacy''s daily business. "I''m just here to pick up my prescription," Rossi said Monday.

Rossi''s partner at Lowen''s is Julius Nasso Jr. - the 27-year-old son of Julius Nasso Sr.

The elder Nasso, a trained pharmacist, is a mobbed-up movie producer who spent nearly a year in prison after he conspired with Gambino crime family hoods to extort $3 million from action movie star Steven Seagal.

Law enforcement sources said the steroid probe also is focusing on four doctors who wrote prescriptions for Lowen''s clients.

One physician has offices in Brooklyn and Staten Island, sources said. Two Florida doctors are also under review, sources said. The fourth doctor died in the past few months.

Rossi''s former son-in-law Edward Letendre, 31, was arrested Monday on a charge of diverting medication, but released by the Brooklyn district attorney''s office, sources said.

The drugstore was closed yesterday. A small sign blamed "mechanical problems."

The raid surprised several patrons, including "Sopranos" star Tony Sirico, aka Paulie Walnuts. "What happened?" Sirico asked before shaking his head and walking off. With Scott Shifrel and Elizabeth Hays

Copyright 2007 New York Daily News

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