High Bond Set For CEO Caught Up In Illicit Steroid Distribution Case

High Bond Set For CEO Caught Up In Illicit Steroid Distribution Case

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) - A husband and wife caught up in a multi-state investigation into an alleged steroid distribution appeared before a federal judge in Miami on Friday.

Bond was set at $300-thousand for Richard Rodriguez and $50,000 for his wife.

Rodriguez and his wife were reportedly part of a ring which moved tens of millions of dollars worth of illicit steroid supplements. The couple, who have a three-year-old son, have been married for 16 years.

Ten people in all were arrested as part of the investigation, seven were from South Florida.

The charges stem from an undercover investigation into the Miami-based company Wellness Fitness Nutrition, or WFN, according to court documents. Tuesday morning DEA agents raided a Miami gym called Iron Addicts saying it was a shipping facility for the steroid ring. They also raided a lab in Phoenix, Arizona.

Rodriguez, who is founder and CEO of WFN, claims to have been compliant with FDA regulations and licensed to distribute anabolic steroids which are considered a controlled substance.

However, investigators discovered that WFN was not licensed by the DEA to distribute steroids to customers without medical prescriptions and sold it through its website, according to court documents.

DEA agents said they were able to track down the purchase of the raw steroid materials bought by WFN from various companies in China. From there, the raw steroid powder would be shipped to a secret lab in Phoenix, Arizona to be manufactured and later to Miami where it was labeled, packaged and shipped to customers, investigators said.

Agents were able to buy over $30,000 worth of anabolic steroids from WFN, court documents state.

The company also allegedly laundered over a million dollars made from sales of the steroids that was re-invested back into the operation.

At least $10 million was moved in illicit proceeds to various bank accounts connected to WFN, according to investigators.

Those arrested will be tried in New York because that is where the cases were filed. If convicted of the steroid distribution and money laundering charges, they face a maximum of 20 years in prison.

June 19, 2022 by Richard Rodriguez
Do I Need Hormone Replacement

Do I Need Hormone Replacement

The natural aging process is accompanied by a normal decline in our body’s production of hormones. As the result, all of the general health we took for granted in our younger years starts to diminish as evidenced by symptoms such as: erectile dysfunctions; hot flashes; forgetfulness; anxiety; sleep disruption; low libido; etc. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) resolves these symptoms by restoring the hormonal balance we once enjoyed. HRT effectively raises diminished (symptom promoting) hormone levels back into the 'normal range', and then up to what is typically called the 'optimal range', thereby reducing and in most cases completely reversing hormonally deficient symptoms.

Natural vs Synthetic

Natural hormones are 'plant derived', meaning they come from precursors found in wild yams and soybeans, which are modified in a laboratory to be identical to the hormones produced by the human body. This is possible because natural hormones possess the exact same chemical structure as hormones produced by our body, called endogenous hormones.

Synthetic hormones are 'artificial', meaning they are not found in nature. These hormones are chemically designed variations of endogenous hormones, and are not identical in structure or activity to endogenous hormones.

Exactly how low hormonal levels will be restored, i.e., the type of hormones that will be used as a supplement, varies according to the choices made by patients and their physicians. Some patients select from the various synthetic hormones available, whereas others prefer natural hormones. What's the real difference, and does it really matter which type you choose? Well technically speaking, both hormones provide the end result of elevating blood serum levels and resolving negative symptoms. However, natural hormones, due to their identical nature (chemical structure and actions) are completely accepted by the body. Conversely, synthetic hormones are not recognized by the body. In fact, they are viewed as foreign substances, and as such often result in adverse side effects which vary in both type and severity.

Why is HRT Compounded?

What is compounding and how is it differentiated from conventional hormone replacement therapy? Contrary to popular belief, genuine HRT is not commercially available. This puzzles many people because they appear to purchase it commercially. However, genuine HRT is only available from a compounding pharmacy, and then only with a valid physician's prescription. This means that unless the retail source secured these hormones from a compounding pharmacy, it was likely produced in an underground laboratory (UGL).

Conventional HRT, which constitutes basic dosages and/or combinations, is limited to standardized preparations. This is a stark contrast to 'compounding', which is the centuries old art and science of preparing customized medications for patients. The primary goal of a compounding pharmacy is to achieve seamless cohesiveness between the patients' needs, the physicians' prescriptions, and the pharmacists' delivery of medication. Compounding permits the customization necessary to achieve this goal by tailoring the dosage strength, and dosage form to patients' often very specific needs. Available in a diversity preparations, HRT can be compounded into: capsules; topical and vaginal creams/gels; oral liquids; troches (lozenges); vaginal and rectal suppositories; injectable solutions; tablet triturates; rapid dissolve tablets; mini troches; and other dosage forms. If deemed necessary by the doctor and patient, testosterone can be added to address deficiency-related problems.

Benefits of Natural HRT

By far the most impressive post-menopausal HRT benefit is a significantly reduced risk of mortality, heart disease/failure, myocardial infarction, and stroke. Aside for the virtual absence of therapy related side effects, which is an enormous benefit, natural HRT also provides patients with:

  • Hormones that are identical in structure to those produced by the human body
  • Protective benefits that were originally provided by the body at normal hormone levels
  • Reduced risk of cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases
  • Improved libido, and restored sexual functions
  • Individualized dosages which are adjustable should the patient’s needs change
  • Greater prevention of osteoporosis through the restoration of bone density
  • The benefit of multi-hormone combinations in one specialized dosage and form
  • Reduced frequency and severity of vaginal dryness and vasomotor symptoms
  • Increased muscle mass and greater muscular strength
  • Improved lipid values
  • Reduced risk of breast and endometrial cancer
  • Prevention dementia-related diseases
  • Improved sleep quality
  • Enhanced mental faculties including mood, concentration, and memory
  • Preparation variety: capsules; oral liquids; lozenges; injectable solutions; topical and vaginal creams; etc
  • Overall quality of life improvement and restoration

How do You Get HRT?

Once the patient and the physician have determined that HRT is appropriate, our compounding pharmacists work directly with both of them to tailor a hormone regimen that “fits” the patient with the appropriate dosage strengths and preparation forms. Typically our patients have physicians who are licensed general practitioners, gynecologists, or endocrinologists, but if you do not have a physician or yours is not familiar with HRT, you can contact us for further information. Our compounding pharmacist will provide a patient consultation, which includes baseline hormone levels (if available), in some cases a saliva test, along with patient medical history, and patient goals. Based on this data, they will determine the appropriate compound, and send a consultation report to the doctor with recommendations. After the doctor approves or makes changes to the recommendation, the patient begins an initial three week course of therapy, which is reviewed by the pharmacist again before continued therapy is recommended. Any subsequent recommendations for adjustments in therapy or new consultation information is reported to the doctor for review and approval. It may take a couple of months to devise a highly effective and wholly appropriate hormone regimen.

What are the Natural Hormones?

The body contains numerous hormones, all with very specific structures and actions. However, the four groups of hormones that are of major concern in HRT include:


Estrogens of which there are three basic types namely: estrone (E1); estradiol (E2); and estriol (E3). The plant source of these chemicals is the Chinese yams and soybeans, and the three types are sometimes blended together. The combination of E2 and E3 is referred to as Bi-Est, and a preparation of all three is collectively known as Tri-Est. These estrogens are often prescribed for women who are or have experienced menopause, ovarian failure, or hysterectomies with removal of the ovaries. Some of the primary benefits to estrogen hormone replacement include the resolution of such symptoms as hot flashes, sleeplessness, mood swings, depression, osteoporosis, night sweats, as well as vaginal symptoms of menopause such as dryness, itching, and burning or discomfort during intercourse.


Progesterone is a predominantly female hormone, that’s naturally derived from the Mexican yams and soybeans. Although the ovaries are primarily responsible for the production of endogenous progesterone (both before and after menopause), it is also produced in part by the brain and peripheral nerves. Progesterone prepares and maintains the uterus for pregnancy by stimulating the uterine lining to thicken with rich, densely vascular tissue which supports an embryo. Progesterone: affects the brain by producing a calm, anti-anxiety effect which helps promote rejuvenating sleep; helps resolve vasomotor symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats; is also prescribed for the treatment of infertility; luteal phase defect; PMS; and used in combination with estrogens to combat various menopausal symptoms.


Testosterone is a hormone produced by both men and women. In men, testosterone is primarily produced within the testicles and secondarily within the hypothalamus and pituitary gland. In women, testosterone is primarily produced in the ovaries, adrenal glands. This multi-faceted hormone in traditionally prescribed to promote: muscle growth; increased energy; elevated mood; strengthened bones; menopausal symptom relief;; enhanced sex drive; and to help prevent heart disease; osteoporosis; stroke; and vascular disorders such as diabetic blindness.


DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) is derived from chemicals found in wild yams and soybeans. Endogenously, DHEA is primarily produced within by the adrenal glands than any other hormone, and secondarily produced by the ovaries, testes, and brain. The body uses DHEA as a buffer hormone, or as a storehouse from which the body can produce other hormones such as estrogens or testosterone when needed. For this reason, it is often referred to as a “parent hormone”. The body first converts DHEA to a hormone called androstenedione, which is then further converted into the major male and female hormones. Undoubtedly, the least understood of the group, research has indicated that this hormone may have important therapeutic benefits within the areas of: erectile dysfunction in men and women; menopause; cardiovascular disease; autoimmune diseases; cancer; weight loss; performance enhancement; chronic fatigue; Alzheimer’s disease; fibromyalgia; and that it may even possess anti-aging properties. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, DHEA is being investigated and may eventually be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a prescription drug for treating systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and improving bone mineral density in women with lupus.

May 04, 2017 by Richard Rodriguez



Getting your store/business to appear in organic searches on search engines such as Google or Bing is not as complicated as it may seem. Essentially, your goal when optimizing your site for search engines is to make it easy to crawl, show authority (with backlinks and content) and show relevance to the keywords you want to rank for.

One thing to keep in mind is that getting your website to appear in search results for very competitive searches is very difficult and can take some time. SEO is a long- term play when it comes to building and growing your business. If you are looking for quick wins, consider paid advertising and even social media.

However, if you’re prepared to put in a little time to build your site and be patient with the results, SEO can pay off tremendously and long term surpass paid advertising results.

Take it from someone that has launched businesses that were in a highly competitive market, I still managed with the right strategy for my organic (SEO) traffic to be at time 4-6 times more profitable and lucractive than Facebook Ads, Instagram and other paid forms of advertising.

This checklist is going to cover as much of the foundation as possible.

Setup Recommended Tools

Install Google Analytics – It’s a free solution that provides you in depth information on your sites traffic and origin. A must to reference when observing market penetration and formulating marketing plans.

Use a Keyword analytics Planner tool: What better way to determine where to start when you can have a tool to determine the search volume of keywords and get keyword ideas to try and rank for.

What would you search to find your products?

What do you think your customers search?

From there, the keywords and phrases that have the highest searches should be the keywords and phrases you are focused on ranking for.

Page Optimization

Keep your page titles under 70 characters so they aren’t truncated in results.

Write good page titles that are human-readable. Make sure they include the keywords you are trying to rank for but don’t over-optimize or make it a string of keywords.

Keep your meta description under 150 characters. This is the text under a page title in a search result. Ensure it clearly describes the page and also include keywords but again, don’t over optimize. Each page’s meta description should be unique.



Ensure you include a keyword in your page URL. Again, don’t over do it. Ensure your images have descriptive ALT tags and filenames.

Create a link building strategy. Link building is the process of getting other websites to link back to you. Search engines such as Google see this as a factor in terms of your website’s authority. The more websites that link back to your store or specific pages on your store, generally the higher Google will rank those pages for particular keywords. Read our guide on backlinks.

Great idea is utilize the SEO tool to also monitor competitors linking strategies, since that will give you ideas on who to collaborate with and even use to attract traffic and steer them away from your competitors.

Create a content strategy. What are keywords and phrases your customers might be searching for when doing research just before buying your product? Create high quality content on a regular basis around those topics so that potential customers discover you. For example, if you’re selling guitars, you might want to write blog posts on topics such as “how to learn guitar for complete beginners”, “the 5 best guitar chords to learn for beginners”, or “how to change strings on your guitar in 5 minutes”.

Ensure every page on your website has at least 250 words of descriptive
text. Search engines like Google crawl and index pages based on what those pages are telling them. If you aren’t doing a good job of including enough words (and keywords you want to rank for) on each page, then you will have a more difficult time ranking for those keywords.

Informational pages and blog posts should have at least 500 words. In general, if you can write more, you should. You also don’t want to artificially increase the word count because that won’t help. Quality is more important than quantity.

Avoid duplicate content. For examples, if you have more than one page with the same product description, it’s a good idea to use the canonical tag on those pages. Shopify allows you to easily do this through themes customization.

Write unique product descriptions. Keeping with the last point, all content on your website should be unique and written by you. For example, don’t use product descriptions from manufacturers.

Consider adding product reviews to your product pages. This will add more content to your product pages and help them rank for long tail keywords.

Setup redirects. Don’t delete pages or content without first setting up a redirect. Even if you remove a product that no longer exists or that you no longer sell, setup a redirect so that any indexed page gets redirected. If you don’t know where to redirect the page, simply redirect it to your homepage. To add a redirect in Shopify, read our documentation on how to easily set one up.

Reputation Building

Setup your business on other platforms such
as Facebook, Twitter,LinkedIn and Google+. Try to ensure you register the brand name so that the URL appears as Facebook.com/BusinessName. This helps customers find you when they search “Business Name” in their favorite search engine.

Create business profiles on review sites and sites that will allow you to manage your reputation. For example, Amazon, Google Business, Yelp, Four Square, TrustPilot, and Epinions. This helps by allowing a backlink to your website and ranking for searches such as “Business Name Review”.

Other Ranking Factors

Ensure your store is mobile friendly. Every Shopify theme is mobile responsive, but if you’re not using Shopify, check to see how it looks on a mobile device. Some of the sites I managed and developed for companies almost immediately saw over 80% of its sales and traffic coming from mobile platforms. User friendliness is key.

Ensure your store is fast. Speed is a ranking factor, use Google Page Speed Tools to see how your store’s performance can be optimized.

Final Thoughts

Once you’ve gone through this checklist, your website is set to start ranking. Remember to give it some time, especially if your store is brand new. Some things you should consider putting frequent time into are creating content and working on building relationships, and getting backlinks.

If you don’t already, start blogging and creating content. According to Search Engine Journal, companies that blog have 434% more indexed pages. More indexed pages means more opportunities for searchers to find you, learn about your brand and purchase your products.


April 19, 2017 by Richard Rodriguez

Are You in It to Win It?

Are You in It to Win It?

Had to take time and write an article about commitment and your determination to win. Please let me know your thoughts.
Have you ever heard, “It isn’t whether you win or lose; it is how you play the game”? I’m sure you have. But do you know who said it? Some guy who came in second place!
You see, I have a problem with that statement. It presupposes, or at least strongly suggests, that winning and playing the game “right” are mutually exclusive propositions. Perhaps we ought to have this as our goal as we pursue success: We want to win, but only by playing the game the right way. I totally disagree with the statement that we should win at all costs. Rather, we should do everything we can to win at this game we call life. And we ought to do all that we can to help others win, too.
With that, here are some thoughts on staying in the game—to win.
Any game worth playing is a game worth pursuing to win. If I get into a game, I play to win. What nobility is there in playing like a slacker? What virtue is purposeful mediocrity? None. I live my life to be a winner—spiritually, financially, physically, emotionally, even relationally—in every area of my life.
It is good to win. We live in an age where people have reacted to sore winners by saying that we shouldn’t strive for winning. Many of our schools have abandoned the idea of competition, and our test scores reflect that. Kudos to all of the teachers out there who still tell their kids that they can be winners. That it is good and noble to win. That it is good to push ourselves, to stretch and reach for victory.
There doesn’t have to be a loser in life.
Yes, in team competition, there will always be losers, but in life, we can all win. We can all strive for the best and give it our all to win. Winners are the people who move families, businesses, organizations, cities and countries ahead. Winners are the people who push progress. You don’t think that a couch potato will cure cancer or discover the next great technology, do you? No, it will be someone who has chosen to be a winner!
Losing can mean winning. Just because your score in a game or contest is the lowest at the end, doesn’t mean all is lost. You can still be a winner because you gave it your all, you competed at your highest level, you learned new skills and strategies, and you became a better player and person. That’s winning in my book.
Winners help others win. Good people, those who pursue winning by excellence, are also people who stop to help others so that they, too, can enjoy the spoils of victory.
Pursue the win, but help others achieve all that they can as well. Winners make everyone better. When I compete in athletic matches, I want to play against the best. Yes, I may come up short in the score, but I will be better because the winner will make me grow in every area of my game. Winners stretch the losers so that they, too, can become winners.
Questions for reflection:
Are you afraid of winning? Do you think it is wrong to win? Are you living each area of your life as though you are a winner? Are you enjoying your wins? Are you helping others win with you?
Friends, we need to play in the game of life completely. That means doing what it takes to make the goal or cross the finish line. You may have to slow your pace or change your strategy along the way, but stay in it and win it!
April 19, 2017 by Richard Rodriguez