>A former Northampton County corrections officer pleaded guilty Monday to illegal drug possession for his role in a steroid ring that was busted by the state attorney general’s office in two phases.

Like all others charged by an investigating statewide grand jury in the second phase of Operation Road Runner, Brian Potance received probation.

The second phase of the probe netted smaller alleged steroid dealers than the first, resulting in lighter sentences, according to Nils Frederiksen, a spokesman for the attorney general’s office.

Potance, of Bethlehem, pleaded guilty Monday — his 27th birthday — to two misdemeanor counts of possession of a controlled substance. He was immediately fined $1,000 and placed on two years’ probation by Lehigh County Judge Robert L. Steinberg.

In return for his plea, felony drug delivery charges were dropped.

Potance stopped working for Northampton County Prison in August, the month he was charged, according to Robert Meyers, the county’s director of corrections. When asked if the arrest led to Potance’s dismissal, Meyers said, “I can’t really discuss that. It’s a personnel issue.”

Potance was one of six people arrested in August and charged with selling steroids. Of those six, only one, Craig Johnson, still has an unresolved case. Johnson, a promoter for Lehigh Valley NPC who at one time was in charge of the bodybuilding competition at SportsFest, has a hearing scheduled for May.

All five other alleged steroid sellers charged in the second phase of the operation were also placed on probation, according to Lehigh County court records.

Edward Moyzan, 38, of Nazareth pleaded guilty in December to two counts of possession with intent to deliver steroids and a conspiracy charge and was fined $1,000 and placed on two years’ probation.

The following people pleaded guilty in January to delivery charges and were fined $500 and placed on two years’ probation: Brian Chamberlain, 36, of West Chester, Chester County; Frank Peters, 34, of Ambler, Montgomery County; and Angela Girondo, 50, of Ambler.

Frederiksen said probation is within the standard range for the crimes the defendants pleaded guilty to. He said those arrested in phase one generally handled larger quantities of steroids and some received prison time.

The first phase of Operation Road Runner led to 10 arrests in November 2009.

According to a state grand jury:

A confidential informant in August and September 2009 bought more than $1,000 worth of steroids from Johnson at his business, Top Physique Nutrition and Promotions, 725 N. 15th St., Allentown. Johnson told the informant the steroids were supplied by Moyzan, who did not want to deal directly with the buyer.

After the informant gave Johnson money, Moyzan would collect the money. Moyzan later told investigators he bought steroids from Potance, who said he bought them online.

The second phase of the operation led to seizure of 300 bottles of steroids and more than 2,300 pills.

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