A Twin Cities weightlifter, who once held a world record, has been sentenced in federal court after being caught in a sting selling nearly 10,000 units of anabolic steroids.
Andrew J. Fiedler, 38, of Apple Valley, was sentenced to five years' probation on Friday after admitting to possession of and conspiracy to distribute anabolic steroids. Fiedler's sentence also includes 500 hours of community service, drug testing, a ban on drinking alcohol, substance-abuse classes and mental-health treatment.
In 2004, the 269-pound Fiedler set the world record in the bench press in his weight class, lifting 810 pounds during an International Powerlifting Association event in Elk River. That mark has since been broken.
In an interview with the Minnesota Score sports magazine soon after the accomplishment, published under the headline, "Mr. Big," Fiedler said: "I've always been very strong compared to everyone else. Becoming a power lifter was the natural thing for me to do."
Fiedler's Facebook page says he was a personal trainer at a studio in Stillwater, counted the Apple Valley High School football team among his clients and was a Mr. Minnesota champion bodybuilder in 2005. He grew up western Wisconsin, where he participated in high school track and field, and was an All-State running back.
Fiedler's attorney, Craig Cascarano, said Monday that his client "was definitely a bright star in the sport [and] used steroids because it was in the sport. ... Everyone did it. It was in the culture."
According to his agreement to plead guilty, authorities learned in 2008 that Fiedler was involved in steroids, a popular yet illegal substance sought by many weightlifters, bodybuilders and athletes to gain muscle mass and a competitive advantage.
Fiedler admitted to distributing 9,670 units of steroids during "orchestrated controlled purchases" set up by law enforcement, the U.S. attorney's office said.
Cascarano said the amount of steroids connected to Fiedler is misleading because a single bottle of steroids in liquid form could have "a thousand units. ... You can burn this up pretty quickly."
Fiedler used at least 90 percent of the amount for himself, sharing the rest with other bodybuilders, the defense attorney said.
While no longer a competitive weightlifter or bodybuilder, Fiedler still works out and is not using steroids, Cascarano said. "Andy is trying to put his life back together. As he reflects, he knows it was not a good thing to do."
Three other Twin Cities men were sentenced separately earlier this year on charges that were part of the same overall investigation. They were Aaron W. Meier, 34, of Lino Lakes; Matthew C. Markwood, 39, of Elk River, and Jeffrey A. Warner, 47, of Eden Prairie.
Meier was sentenced to six months in prison for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute anabolic steroids, and six months in prison for money laundering. Those sentences are concurrent.
Markwood was sentenced to two years' probation for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute anabolic steroids.
Warner was sentenced to three years' probation for conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute anabolic steroids.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482