(CNN) -- Three members of the Philadelphia police department and 12 others are being charged with conspiracy to distribute anabolic steroids, U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger announced Wednesday.
The charges against the defendants, including Philadelphia Police Detective Keith Gidelson, a 14-year department veteran, and fellow police officers Joseph McIntyre and George Sambuca, come after a lengthy investigation by the Philadelphia Police Department's Internal Affairs Anti-Corruption Task Force, the FBI and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
"Another dark day for our department, but one that certainly does not reflect the good work that goes on every single day by the men and women of this department," Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey said. "Unfortunately, we do have some that tarnish the badge and continue to do so and we will very aggressively continue to go after them and get them out of our ranks."
According to the 17-count federal indictment, Gidelson operated an anabolic steroid and human growth hormone distribution organization in Philadelphia and throughout the U.S. It's alleged that he got monthly shipments from foreign suppliers in Europe and China, some from a rented UPS mailbox.
Gidelson and his wife Kirsten allegedly stored and packaged steroids and HGH at their Philadelphia home. The indictment says the couple would meet drug customers, including some of the defendants, at their home and at fitness centers in the Philadelphia area to distribute the drugs. Gidelson also allegedly distributed to customers across the U.S. whom he met through online weightlifting chat rooms.
In a press release, Memeger said, "Police officers swear an oath to uphold the law. When an officer breaks the law, no matter the infraction, he not only violates his oath, he violates the public's trust. This indictment alleges that three officers placed personal gain ahead of their duty to protect and serve."
Ramsey has suspended all three for 30 days with the intent to dismiss.
All 15 defendants are now in custody. Each count charged carries a maximum possible sentence of 10 years imprisonment and $250,000 fine.