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Arraignment Due Next Week for 7 Suspects : Informant Led Investigators to Steroids

Times Staff Writer

Jack Paholski of Fullerton was in the market for steroids, a body-building drug with dangerous side effects which can’t be sold legally without a prescription. So he met last November with someone from Fountain Valley Research.

He was set up with a steroid program, and turned over to somone else lab for a blood test.

What the Fountain Valley Research people did not know was that Paholski was an informant for the Fullerton Police Department. Paholski’s information led to a search of the Fountain Valley Research facilities at 17229 New Hope St. in Fountain Valley and a warehouse in Santa Ana. Police confiscated 188 vials of anabolic steroids, valued at $50,000, plus two truckloads of laboratory and manufacturing equipment.

Seven people were charged Thursday with a felony conspiracy to sell illegal steroids, including a former Fullerton college football player. Fullerton Police Capt. Donald Bankhead Friday described Fountain Valley Research as “a multi-million business.”

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“From what we’ve learned, the customers included some young college football players, but I don’t want to say that there was widespread use of steroids among players,” Bankhead said. “A lot of other people buy steroids, including weightlifters and people who just want to improve their strength for their own purposes.”

Doctors use steroids in small quantities, but closely monitor patients for side effects. Steroids, if misused, are known to cause cancer or heart disease.

Those charged were Jeffrey A. Feliciano, 36, Michael Lee Pycior, 19, and James Guy Joseph, 20, all of Fountain Valley; physician Val Max Warhaft, 35, and Shayne Iler Ganz, 29, both of Irvine; Kevin Lawrence Stensby, 33, or Newport Beach, and Christopher Mark Mott, 29, of Anaheim.

Bankhead said almost all of the defendants had been contacted by Friday afternoon and agreed to turn themselves in to be booked either Tuesday or Wednesday. They will be given a date for their arraignment at that time. Bankhead said he expected all would be released on their own recognizance.

The police investigation began last fall when a Fullerton college football coach told a trainer there that the coach was taking steroids that weren’t working. The trainer turned a vial of the steroids over to police. The police investigation began to center on Feliciano, who was on a list of people suspected of supplying steroids to players at the college.

The police set up informant Paholski to try to buy steroids from Feliciano, according to the district attorney’s complaint.

Paholski met with Feliciano in November, the complaint states, and was interviewed as a possible customer. The next month Feliciano allegedly agreed to start Paholski on a steroids program and told him he would be assigned to Shayne Ganz, another of the defendants, for “a follow-up.”

About two weeks later, the complaint states, one of the defendants, Mike Pycior, contacted Paholski and told him that Ganz would give Paholski a blood test. Ganz called the next day and set up the appointment, it states. Paholski was apparently given the blood tests. But according to the complaint, Ganz told Paholski that Val Max Warhoft wanted Paholski to take a polygraph test.

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It was soon after that the police moved in with their search warrants.

Pycior and Warhoft are accused of being minority percentage owners of Fountain Valley Research, with Feliciano owning 96%.

Pycior and defendants Kevin Stensby and Christopher Mott also are accused of accepting money from Fountain Valley Research. The complaint doesn’t specify why they were paid, but Bankhead said that the company paid several people to bring in and sell to customers. Mott is further accused of setting up the corporate structure for Fountain Valley Research, and leasing a storage unit in Santa Ana for the operation.

Pycior and Joseph, the former Fullerton College football player, also are accused of helping Feliciano cap and label the steroids at Fountain Valley Research.

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Warhoft is accused of using his physician’s license to obtain drugs used in the manufacture of the steroids.

None of these accusations are charges by themselves. They are listed as overt acts which the prosecution claims shows a conspiracy.


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