Updates on the Steroid Sting
Another pro athlete named; others clarify position
Posted: Thursday March 8, 2007 2:47PM; Updated: Tuesday March 20, 2007 7:24PM
Since last summer Sports Illustrated reporters Luis Fernando Llosa and L. Jon Wertheim have been investigating an alleged illegal steroid distribution network that has implicated numerous pro athletes. On Feb. 27, the two SI writers accompanied federal and state drug enforcement agents on a raid of a Jupiter, Fla., anti-aging clinic that investigators allege conspired to fraudulently prescribe steroids, human growth hormone and other performance-enhancing drugs over the Internet.
SI.com: What's the latest?
Llosa/Wertheim: Well, the eye of the storm is Albany, N.Y., where this multi-agency investigation really traces its roots. Officials from Major League Baseball and the NFL met with the prosecutorial team on Wednesday. Right now investigators are combing through a ton of documents -- literally more than 2,000 pounds -- seized from last week's raids. We've also learned that in addition to paperwork, investigators did find steroids, HGH and syringes from the clinic in Jupiter. Given that the facility, the Palm Beach Rejuvenation Center (PBRC), was really just a call center through which customers from around the country consulted the staff about drug therapy programs, it is curious, to say the least, that actual products were found there.
SI.com: Have any athletes' names surfaced in conjunction with the Palm Beach Rejuvenation Center?
Llosa/Wertheim: Investigators only began sifting through the invoices and receipts earlier this week. But according to documents we've reviewed, Darren Holmes -- a former major league pitcher for 13 seasons with eight teams (including five years with the Rockies) -- received somatropin (the generic name for synthetically produced HGH) and testosterone through Palm Beach Rejuvenation in October 2003. The order was shipped to Holmes in Arden, N.C., but was billed to the PBRC.
We contacted Holmes, 40, who last pitched for the Braves in '03 and runs youth baseball and softball academies in the Carolinas. He was very up front with us and admitted ordering and receiving the HGH. He says the testosterone was included -- unsolicited, he says -- in the package. He says he ordered the growth hormone after trolling the Internet and looking for an alternative cure to his shoulder pain. "I'm being as honest as I can," he says. "[When the box came] My wife looked at me and said, 'Are you sure you really want to do this?' I said, 'You know what, I'm not comfortable. I don't know if this is right for me.'" He says the unsolicited testosterone made him particularly skeptical. "I threw the box away and never used it."
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