watching Don Hooton tell 60 Minutes the story of his son's death, Jack called
Hooton at his home in Plano. He introduced himself and told him he had watched
the segment with his two boys, saying, "It was like you were talking
through the TV screen to me. And I wanted you to know that I'm listening."
Later Jack told him, "The DEA in San Diego is working on a case. You're not
going to see results anytime soon. But believe me, we are as committed as you
are. And I just want you to know, I will work my ass off for this
Jack continued to
check on Hooton every other month, and over the next year and a half, a
friendship developed. Jack listened as Don talked about the Taylor Hooton
Foundation, which he had formed in an effort to educate kids and parents about
steroid use. He heard Don's frustration over the investigation into Taylor's
death. The probe had stalled, even though police had identified a local
teenager they believe had supplied Taylor with steroids. Don was also upset
with officials at Plano West Senior High; he felt they weren't acknowledging
the steroid problem at the school (box, page 74).
Jack never gave
in to the temptation to cheer Hooton up with updates on Gear Grinder, and
Hooton found a way to satisfy his curiosity without pressing. "I know it's
inappropriate, Jack, to ask you guys what you are doing or how you are doing,
but tell me one thing. Are you smiling?" Don asked during one call.
smiling," Jack said.
said Hooton. "That's all I need to know."
tacked a photo on his cubicle wall of the vial of steroids found in Taylor's
room. Taylor had wrapped the vial carefully and hidden it behind a speaker. He
had used the drug without his parents' knowledge, and, when he tried to quit,
became so engulfed by depression that he hanged himself in his room, leaving a
note that read, "I love you guys. I'm sorry about everything."
In early 2005 the
DEA received the vial, which contained Deca QV 300, or nandralone, one of
Quality Vets' most popular products. That drug, the DEA says, was one of
Saltiel-Cohen's biggest money-makers.
To prove that the
manufacturers and distributors of the steroids were aware that humans were
using them in the U.S., the DEA first turned to the Olympic lab at UCLA, to the
scientists who first identified THG, the designer steroid at the center of the
BALCO scandal. Doctors there determined that the Mexican drugs were exactly
what athletes would take, and were in the dosages that those users would
the notion that these were produced as veterinary drugs, the DEA found that
some 80% of the steroids were being shipped to the Baja California region,
which Bob found has only 1% of Mexico's cattle. With the help of Dr. Scott
Stanley, an associate professor at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine
(at which Saltiel-Cohen, ironically, had done graduate studies), investigators
marshaled even more evidence. Some of the seized products contained more than
one steroid, a practice known as "stacking," which is common among
human users but has no veterinary purpose. And often the instructions were
blatantly wrong. "There were products where the instructions suggested two
times and up to 25 times the recommended doses for animals," Stanley
Stanley also told
the DEA that the volume and variety of products was excessive. "In the U.S.
the use of steroids on animals is not a popular treatment anymore," Stanley
says. Only five types of anabolic steroids are used on animals in the U.S.; the
Mexican companies were manufacturing 17 types.