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"Did I f----- stutter?" Bonds replied. "Maybe forever."
Bonds didn't reply, and his cellphone cut out.
As a result of an IRS investigation of BALCO as well as evidence sent to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), a federal raid on BALCO was scheduled late in 2003, involving more than two dozen agents and officials representing five different agencies. On the morning of Sept. 3 the raiding party gathered at Bayside Park, one mile east of BALCO.
There, Jeff Novitzky, an agent of the IRS Criminal Investigation unit, handed out copies of a briefing document and explained that Conte and BALCO vice president James Valente were distributing steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs to well-known athletes, specifically mentioning Barry Bonds and Marion Jones. The agents were told to seize all "controlled substances and other athletic performance-enhancing drugs and paraphernalia," along with documents dating back to 1994. Novitzky was to be informed immediately if the name Greg Anderson was found on any documents.
At 12:20 a caravan of unmarked Buicks, some with lights flashing, roared down Mahler Road toward the BALCO building. As Novitzky entered BALCO, he called out, "Federal agents, we have a search warrant."
The agents encountered Conte, Valente and Valente's wife, Joyce. Novitzky asked Conte if he would be willing to talk, and the BALCO chief agreed. After patting him down for weapons, Novitzky and John Columbet, a local drug agent, escorted Conte to a conference room. Novitzky told Conte he already had proof of his guilt, but he said Conte's cooperation might be viewed favorably by prosecutors. The agent wanted Conte to cooperate and lay out his entire operation. Amazingly, Conte did. Over the next three hours, he talked and talked. Although he sometimes dissembled or lied, Conte nevertheless gave the government a remarkable account of the steroid conspiracy he had directed. According to the government, for instance, Conte detailed his distribution of the Clear and the Cream to elite athletes and explained how they worked.
According to the government, Conte implicated 27 athletes--15 from track and field, seven from the National Football League and five from the major leagues, including Barry Bonds. Prior to the start of the 2003 season, baseball's first year of testing for steroids, Greg Anderson had brought in several players, including Bonds, to get the Cream and the Clear. Bonds used the substances "on a regular basis," Conte said, which meant taking each drug twice a week, with cycles of three weeks on, one week off. Bonds didn't pay for the drugs; instead, he received them in exchange for promoting Conte's legal supplement, ZMA. Conte told the agents that Anderson had last been in the office to refill his supply of the Cream and the Clear three or four weeks earlier.
If that wasn't enough, Conte also said he kept the drugs in a storage locker on the other side of Highway 101, and he agreed to take the agents there and let them search it.