A prominent fitness influencer and business owner allegedly directed the sale of steroids and other drugs, including to an undercover police officer, using the online moniker ‘Flame King’, a court has been told.
Team Future Muscle owner Nathan Williamson and personal trainer Daniel Tenace fronted Melbourne Magistrates Court on Saturday charged over the alleged largest-ever steroid haul seized by police.
Police allegedly found millions of dollars worth of steroids and medicine and more than $300,000 in cash at both men’s addresses, as well as at a gym in Port Melbourne and a property in Flemington in the CBD.
Officers swooped on Mr Williamson, 32, at Crown Towers on Melbourne’s South Bank on Friday following a sprawling months-long investigation targeting drugs allegedly being circulated in the city’s gyms.
Police allege Mr Williamson and Mr Tenace, who both work as personal trainers, bought drugs from overseas suppliers before reselling them to hundreds of Australian clients out of a unit in the Port Melbourne area.
Nathan Williamson has been charged with allegedly trafficking steroids and other drugs
‘We have obtained CCTV of both Williamson and Tenace coming and going from that address on South Wharf Dr, Docklands, with large boxes and packages,’ Detective Inspector Melanie McNamara told the court.
‘The address was set-up as almost a distribution centre for drugs, which were lined up and set-up in their names with prepaid tracking Australia Post bags and labels. All that is still being processed by police.’
Both men, who have no criminal history, were granted bail by Magistrate Daniel Muling after their mothers Naomi Williamson and Rosaria Weimer agreed to provide hundreds of thousands of dollars in surety.
Under their bail conditions, both men are required to report to police twice weekly, cease association with one another, and surrender their passports. They are also subject to a curfew from 10pm to 5am.
The arrest comes more than eight months after police first launched an investigation into the alleged distribution of performance-enhancing drugs at Melbourne gyms, beginning on April 5.
Police facts state officers were later executing a search warrant at a unit on Napier St in Essendon for an unrelated matter when they saw a parcel being delivered with a return address in Yarraville.
The parcel allegedly contained a cocktail of controlled substances, including testosterone. Police subsequently searched the man’s phone and found emails with ‘Next Knows Pharma’ and ‘Flame King’.
Police tracked the parcel back to the Australia Post Business Hub in Port Melbourne where CCTV allegedly captured Mr Williamson sending the parcel to Essendon and several others on August 7.
Over the following three months, police continued to track multiple parcels containing various drugs allegedly delivered by Mr Williamson and Mr Tenace from the Port Melbourne business hub.
On August 28, a covert police operative engaged Next Knows Pharma to request the purchase of steroid-based products. The next day, they received a message from ‘Flame King’ who police allege was Williamson.
The following week, police collected from the requested locker a parcel which had been sent from the Port Melbourne business hub and allegedly contained a number of drugs, including testosterone.
Victoria Police said it will take investigators a number of days to count and weigh the drugs and cash, but the stash is believed to be worth millions of dollars
CCTV obtained from the post office allegedly showed Mr Tenace delivering the parcel, as well as about 10 others. The operative proceeded to purchase more items which were sent off for analysis.
On October 20, a homeowner claimed to have been delivered a parcel which did not belong to them. They allegedly observed a large quantity of liquid vials inside after opening one of the parcels.
‘A male had attended their address to collect the parcel … They left a number and returned the following day and when asked by the occupant what the vials were, the man said they were medicinal products,’ the facts allege.
‘The packaging appeared to be the same as a prior incident, and CCTV was obtained from the address. The male was later identified as Mr Tenace. The phone number was the same as a previous incident.’
Police were told by Australia Post multiple people had complained about parcels being sent to their address, with staff telling officers Mr Williamson and Mr Tenace collected those which had been refused delivery.
Officers ultimately swooped on Mr Williamson while he was at the Crown Towers with another person on Friday. The duo had not been seen after checking into room about 3pm the day prior.
The pair accompanied police to the residential address of Mr Williamson, a father of two, at South Wharf Rd. Mr Tenace’s address, located on the same road, was the first to be searched.
Inside, police allegedly uncovered a vast cache of drugs sprawled throughout the apartment, including steroids, diazepam, Cialis, growth hormone, and different types of prescription medication.
A further search of Mr Tenace’s car allegedly revealed more vials of steroids as well as Australia Post receipts. Mr Tenace was arrested and transported to Melbourne West police station.
Police carried out further searches at another address on South Wharf Dr listed in Mr Williamson’s mother name, where they allegedly located more large quantities of packaged anabolic steroids.
Team Future Muscle owner Nathan Williamson and personal trainer Daniel Tenace fronted Melbourne Magistrates Court on Saturday charged over the alleged largest-ever steroid haul seized by police
Detective McNamara said police were still at the address and did not have a ‘final number’ on what they allegedly found there, but said at Mr Williamson’s nearby address they allegedly further located Valium and a suspected peptide.
More than $130,000 in cash was also located at the Mr Williamson’s address, though the court was told some of the cash may be proven to be from a payout Mr Williamson had received from Victoria Police.
A search of the Crown Towers room also allegedly uncovered two phones, an iPad, two small crystals believed to be meth, as well as cash, and various credit and debit cards, including in another person’s name.
Ms McNamara told the court she could not give an estimate on how long analysis being undertaken on the substance would take, and said police would also be issuing warrants to a number of banks.
The amount of drugs seized was so large that detectives will have to return to the address for a second time. Investigators also searched a Port Melbourne gym, where they also allegedly located a large amount of illegal steroids.
The pair were charged with a range of offences including trafficking a commercial quantity of prescription medication, trafficking anabolic steroids, trafficking diazepam and knowingly dealing with the proceeds of crime.
A 37-year-old woman was also arrested and charged with possessing methamphetamine. She was granted bail to appear before Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on February 26, 2024.
Victoria Police said it will take investigators a number of days to count and weigh the drugs and cash, but the stash is believed to be worth millions of dollars.
Detective Inspector Patrick Watkinson said the steroid bust was the largest the state had ever seen
Detective Inspector Patrick Watkinson said the steroid bust was the largest the state had ever seen.
‘We’ve uncovered a sophisticated drug distribution centre – the biggest of its kind in Victoria,’ he said.
‘What caught our attention is that they’re allegedly selling drugs to organised crime figures, and not only profiting heavily from it, but also facilitating their luxury lifestyle.
‘The community may think dealing with performance-enhancing drugs is harmless, but we’re looking at the bigger picture here – which is to target all aspects of organised crime including the people associated with it.
‘We want this to send a message to those associating with people who have links to organised crime. If you’re connected – even in the slightest way – the chances of your activities being detected is increased.
‘This work is about limiting the networks and connections of organised crime figures. We want those causing harm in our community to feel the pressure from all angles.
‘Medication should be supplied by accredited doctors and pharmacists, not personal trainers at a gym.’
ACT Policing also executed a number of warrants on Friday and arrested a group of people allegedly involved in the syndicate.
NSW Police also carried out a number of warrants connected to the alleged drug ring.
Further charges are expected to be laid.