Player In Baseball's Steroid Scandal Surrenders To DEA
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
The man accused at being at the heart of Major League Baseball's biggest doping scandal surrendered to federal agents today. Anthony Bosch is founder of the Biogenesis Anti-aging Clinic in South Florida. He's one of 10 men charged with being involved in a drug ring and has agreed to plead guilty. Federal prosecutors say Bosch and his associates distributed illegal performance enhancers to professionals and to teenage athletes in Florida and the Dominican Republic. NPR's sports correspondent Tom Goldman has been following this case and he joins me now. And Tom this roundup in South Florida comes a year to the day after more than a dozen professional baseball players, including the superstar Alex Rodriguez, were suspended for their ties to Biogenesis. But today no other players were named, no athletes were charged with any crimes, why not?
TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Because this federal investigation is about the suppliers. Ten men led by Tony Bosch, he's cooperating with federal investigators as he did with Major League Baseball investigators a year ago, and he'll probably get a lighter sentence because of that cooperation. The others include Alex Rodriguez's cousin, also a former University of Miami pitching coach. They allegedly supplied Bosch with drugs and distributed them, they recruited users, both pro and high school athletes as you mention. Most of the defendants were allegedly involved with performance-enhancing drugs, Melissa. A few took part in what authorities call, a separate conspiracy, involving distribution of the party drug, molly.
BLOCK: So, no bombshells about other baseball stars but did prosecutors talk today about just who Anthony Bosch and the codefendants supplied these drugs to?
GOLDMAN: Yeah, they did. And most surprising was what they had to say about the underage athletes. U.S. attorney Wilfredo Ferrer says high school athletes between the ages of 15 and 17 received steroids and human growth hormone. One of the defendants, Collazo is the former University of Miami baseball coach, he allegedly recruited teenagers from public and private schools throughout South Florida. Kids would end up paying between 250 and 600 dollars a month for the performance-enhancing drugs. And a D.E.A. official at today's press conference announcing the charges said most of the drugs sold to minors were obtained from the black market. The official said and I, quote, "we're talking about some clown in his basement with a bucket and a burner and very limited knowledge of chemistry and these chemicals were going in our children's bodies."
BLOCK: Wow, and as we mentioned Tom, the illegal drug distribution is said to have gone well beyond South Florida.
GOLDMAN: Yeah, U.S attorney Ferrer said Bosch and two codefendants set up a company in the Dominican Republic and it served as what he called, a farm for baseball players between the ages of 12 and 17. They wanted to prepare themselves for Major League careers. Bosch and the others allegedly supplied baseball equipment and testosterone loaded syringes to the street agent called a buscones, who ran the farm and who allegedly gave the drugs to some of the kids there. Now many of those kids are from desperately poor backgrounds, they're fighting and clawing to strike it rich in baseball.
BLOCK: Now, authorities are saying that this drug operation ran from 2008 to the end of 2012. But is that an endpoint? That 2012 date implies that maybe nothing was going on right after that?
GOLDMAN: Well, you know, you talk about the steroids that are in baseball - you have to think that things are going on. You know, this biggest doping scandal in baseball was also the most recent and that's doping at the pro-level, where we're talking about adults. The Partnership For Drug-Free Kids released survey results late last month that say steroids and HGH use by teenagers in this country has increased in just the last few years.
BLOCK: OK. NPR sports correspondent Tom Goldman. Tom thanks.
GOLDMAN: You're welcome.
BLOCK: You are listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED.
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