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BALCO chemist subpoenaed

Steroid creator Arnold to appear before grand jury

Posted: Tuesday October 3, 2006 4:39PM; Updated: Tuesday October 3, 2006 4:51PM
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BALCO chemist Patrick Arnold is the creator of THG, the designer steroid allegedly used by Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi.
BALCO chemist Patrick Arnold is the creator of THG, the designer steroid allegedly used by Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi.
Gregory Heisler/SI
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By George Dohrmann, SI.com

Patrick Arnold, the Illinois chemist who created the designer steroid at the center of the BALCO scandal, has been subpoenaed to appear before the grand jury investigating San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds, a source close to Arnold told SI.com.

The source said that Arnold received the subpoena and should appear in a San Francisco courtroom in the next few weeks. Arnold's lawyer, Rick Collins, would neither confirm nor deny that his client had been subpoenaed.

"I can't say anything on that subject," Collins said and declined further comment. Arnold also declined to comment.

What information, if any, Arnold possess pertaining to Bonds' alleged steroid use is unknown. In a story in the week's Sports Illustrated, Arnold details for the first time his involvement in the BALCO scandal. He discuses his relationship with BALCO founder Victor Conte, tells how he created THG -- the steroid reportedly used by Bonds, Jason Giambi and others --and he traces his rise in the supplement industry.

Arnold told SI earlier that he has no direct knowledge of steroid use by Bonds but did disclose that Conte updated him on the progress of the athletes he was doping, telling Arnold how they were responding to THG and a cocktail of other performance-enhancers. An ESPN.com story two weeks ago stated that Arnold had disclosed to a media outlet that Conte told him Bonds knew he was taking steroids. The story was later updated with that reference omitted.

In addition to supplying Conte, Arnold gave drugs to athletes and coaches not connected to BALCO and has long been concerned that federal prosecutors would force him to name them. In a plea agreement with the government negotiated last spring, he conceded that he manufactured three designer steroids, including THG, and was sentenced to three months in a federal prison and three months house arrest.

But Arnold was not required to name the athletes and coaches he gave drugs to as part of that agreement. It is not known if a grand jury reportedly focusing on whether Bonds committed perjury would seek information about others who allegedly doped.

Arnold met with SI last month in Champaign, Ill., where he lives. The lab he co-owns, Proviant Technologies, is located near Champaign and continues to manufacture supplements. In addition to the disclosures in the SI story, Arnold talked about where he saw doping going now that there has been a crackdown on steroid use.

"There is a future beyond steroids and its gene doping," he said. "It's the next step. The only way it can be detected now is through a muscle biopsy, though they may be looking for blood markers. They are making great advances and how they keep that out of the hands of people with healthy muscles who use it for performance-enhancing reasons I don't know.

"As drug and performance-enhancing science becomes more and more complicated, it is going to get to a point where you can't police it anymore. People might just have to stop taking sports so seriously."

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