TAMPA — A former Pasco County jail deputy pleaded guilty Wednesday to a federal drug charge of possession of an anabolic steroid with intent to distribute.
Rodney Philon, 38, faces a maximum of five years in prison. A sentencing date has not been set.
Philon was arrested in March, along with former Pasco sheriff's Deputy Don Riggans, Robert "Fat Bob" Caddick of Oviedo and Kevin Massimino of Tampa.
Caddick was the chief executive officer of a pharmacy called Medipharm. U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents raided it in late 2006 and pulled its license to operate. Investigators said Caddick used his connections to steal prescription drugs, including hydrocodone and Xanax. Massimino put the pills into circulation, authorities said.
Investigators have charged Riggans, Caddick and Massimino with conspiracy to distribute hydrocodone. Prosecutors said Philon knew about their plan, and they charged him separately with illegal distribution of the anabolic steroid Dianabol.
Authorities said Philon sold an informant 10 pink Dianabol tablets on March 15 in a Publix parking lot off State Road 54. The next day, Philon was arrested by his own agency after a six-hour standoff at his Wesley Chapel home with fellow deputies.
Philon hesitated in court Wednesday before entering his plea before U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas B. McCoun III.
David Secular, Philon's public defender, told the judge that Philon was "a little concerned" about his legal representation. Philon felt pressured by his attorney to plead guilty, Secular told the judge. He also didn't understand why the case was moving to trial so quickly.
Without the plea, which Philon entered without a deal from prosecutors, he would have gone to trial before U.S. District Judge Susan C. Bucklew sometime this month.
McCoun explained to Philon that his attorney had no control over the trial schedule.
"I don't know what to tell you other than it's time to pay the piper," the judge told Philon.
After taking some time to talk about his options with his attorney, Philon decided to go ahead and plead guilty.
The Pasco County Sheriff's Office fired Philon and Riggans after their arrests.
Kevin Graham can be reached at email@example.com or (813)