Just when you thought Major League Baseball had finally recovered from last summer's drug scandal, along comes Tuesday's wake-up call.
Tony Bosch, former director of Biogenesis, was among 10 people arrested on charges of conspiracy to distribute anabolic steroids to professional and high school athletes.
It came on the first anniversary of MLB suspending 13 players for using performance-enhancing drugs procured from the South Florida anti-aging clinic.
"This investigation," Mark Trouville, special agent in charge of the DEA Miami field division, said during a news conference Tuesday, "is not over."
Neither, apparently, is the cheating.
"Are drugs ever going to be out of the game? No," Kirk Radomski, the former New York Mets clubhouse attendant who was convicted for distributing steroids in 2007 to baseball players, told USA TODAY Sports.
"I still get guys calling me, asking me how to get to that next level. There are a lot of guys out there beating the system.
"There probably are going to be a bunch of guys who are worried now that the feds are involved."
How about petrified?
While the DEA is focusing on Bosch and his associates, including the cousin of suspended New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez and a former associate of a high-powered sports agency, more baseball players have surfaced in the investigation, a law enforcement official told USA TODAY Sports. The official, who is not authorized to publicly comment on the matter, did not identify the players.
"This is going to turn into a non-stop leak situation," Victor Conte, the founder of BALCO who spent four months in federal prison for dealing steroids to athletes, told USA TODAY Sports. "I would think these players' names, in the neighborhood of 85, could be mentioned. My gut tells me they are going to be releasing more names.
"It's one thing to testify under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement in baseball. It's another thing to testify in a federal court or before a grand jury.
"Baseball, their only threat was, 'Hey, we'll sue you.' The Feds are saying, 'We'll handcuff you and put you in prison.'"
The key witness will be Bosch, 50, an informant last year for MLB's investigation into Biogenesis that resulted in 14 overall suspensions.
He faces a 10-year sentence and $500,000 fine from Tuesday's charges, but Bosch, with a plea deal in place, could ultimately serve 3-4 years in prison if he cooperates with the government, according to legal experts.
Bosch also admitted to providing steroids and performance-enhancing drugs to 18 children ages 15-17, according to federal authorities. The minors spent $250-$600 a month for the drugs, without being examined by a medical doctor.
"These defendants provided dangerous access to impressionable high-school kids," said Wifredo Ferrer, U.S. attorney for the southern district of Florida, "on the promise they would play better, recover faster from injury.
"Simply put, doping children is unacceptable. It is wrong. It is illegal. It is dangerous. Bosch and associates who distributed to athletes and children will be held accountable."
The majority of the baseball players — as many as 90, according to one major leaguer with knowledge of Bosch's documents but not authorized speak publicly due to the sensitive nature of topic — were introduced to Bosch through Juan Carlos Nunez, an associate of the ACES agency, along with Yuri Sucart, Rodriguez's cousin.
Nunez, who used Bosch's drugs as a recruiting tool, according to Ferrer, also operated an agency and drug operation in the Dominican Republic with Sucart. They employed street agents to procure players, while also providing testosterone with loaded syringes to the Dominican players.
Nunez, who was fired by ACES two years ago and banned from MLB after a failed scheme to create a phony website following Melky Cabrera's positive test, told the judge he has been unemployed since 2012. He refused to cooperate with MLB during the Biogenesis investigation, and has yet to speak to federal authorities about his role with ACES. Sam and Seth Levinson, who employed Nunez and are being investigated by the Major League Players Association, have vehemently denied any involvement.
"These defendants were motivated by one thing," Ferrer said. "Money."
Sucart, 52, banned by MLB from the Yankees' clubhouse and all of their facilities in 2009, also was charged in an eight-count indictment, including five counts of distribution of testosterone. The others charged Tuesday include former University of Miami pitching coach Lazaro Collazo; Carlos Acevedo, Bosch's business partner; and Jorge Velasquez and Christopher Engroba, who were considered Bosch's black-market sources.
Yet, while Radomski believes the federal government will focus on Bosch and his associates to divulge their drug sources and laboratories, Conte anticipates that Bosch will be used to snare other athletes using performance-enhancing drugs.
"They're going to want Bosch to tell people everything he knows," said Conte, who refused to cooperate with the federal government. "They're going to want him to do undercover work and make buys. They'll see if he's willing to wear a wire and cooperate with coaches, athletes and chemists. If not, they're going to pursue charges to the max.
"They're going to want (Bosch) to sign a proffer, and tell them everything he knows.
"Based on evidence, once this gets dragged into a federal criminal case, and there are more charges, I would not be surprised to see names come out for the next three years."
"This is going to drag on for quite some time."
Maybe, it never will end.
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