Skip to comments.Bumper Crop of Scandal Raised in Ill.Cornfields?(Patrick Arnold,Designer-Drugs,Athletes,& the Feds)
Posted on 11/28/2005 6:59:08 AM PST by fight_truth_decay
Soon the tentacles of the BALCO doping case had reached into professional baseball and football, into Olympic track and field, into championship boxing, into the very consciousness of the American sports fan. There was grand-jury testimony and U.S. Anti-Doping Agency sanctions and congressional hearings with pumped-up athletes stuffed into designer suits talking about designer steroids.
And now the trail has led to a three-story beige building in the cornfields of central Illinois, to a nutritional supplement company called Proviant Technologies and what investigators believe is the true genius behind the whole operation. To a 39-year-old organic chemist who signed off his frequent Internet postings with: "Fist in the air in the land of hypocrisy."
Associated Press / The News-Gazette
Chemist Patrick Arnold hasn't
been shy about claiming the formula for
To Patrick Arnold.
"The real message is," says Dick Pound, president of the World Anti-Doping Agency, "for once, the upstream folks are going to be in at least as much trouble as the athlete users."
Victor Conte founder of the Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative for which the BALCO scandal is named ultimately negotiated a plea deal; he begins serving a four-month prison term Thursday at a minimum-security camp in the San Joaquin Valley, followed by four months of home confinement. Greg Anderson, Barry Bonds' personal trainer, got three months in prison and three months' home confinement. James Valente, BALCO's vice president, got probation.
But the big fish, some say, is Arnold. Conte was largely a distributor, assembling a clientele of elite athletes and funneling them an array of performance-enhancing substances, most of which were common fare in the doping trade. What separated his program was "the clear," or THG, the potent anabolic steroid that was undetectable in standard urine tests and that one coach described as "rocket fuel" and that the government claims was brewed up by Arnold in Champaign, Ill.
Conte refers to him in e-mails as "the clearman."
Proviant Technologies and Arnold's apartment were searched two months ago, and a grand jury indicted Arnold on Nov. 3 on three counts of steroid-related charges that carry a maximum sentence of 13 years in prison and $750,000 in fines. Arnold pleaded not guilty and is due in court again next week.
Arnold and his attorneys have declined comment. Proviant issued a three-paragraph statement about its vice president, saying: "Patrick has a respected reputation as a chemist in the nutritional supplement industry . . . Patrick has always sought to conduct his business in a professional manner and with strict adherence to the law."
Arnold was a little-known chemist with a degree from the University of New Haven until 1996, when he came across the recipe for a steroidlike nasal spray that the East German doping machine had developed three decades earlier. He adapted it to pill form, and in 1998 a bottle of androstenedione was found in the locker of baseball slugger Mark McGwire.
Arnold became known as the father of prohormones, substances that claimed to convert to steroids only after they were ingested and theoretically were immune from federal steroid regulations. But it is his alleged work in the underground world of designer steroids taking a known anabolic steroid and tweaking it molecularly so it's no longer detectable in urine tests that caught the attention of the feds.
"The designer stuff is very secret and very potent," Arnold wrote to a Houston pharmacology student in 2001, according to an e-mail included in the government affidavit requesting permission to search Arnold's home and workplace. "It is currently being used by several high profile athletes, some of which are having phenomenal success in their sports right now."
Arnold is something of a cult figure in the nutritional supplement world, offering advice and opinions almost daily on the bulletin boards of Web sites such as bodybuilding.com and musclegurus.com. As recently as last summer, he bragged on the boards about his prowess in the lab:
There may be some that know certain aspects of pharmacology (the cell biology stuff) more than I do, but when you add up OVERALL knowledge of chemistry and pharmacology, I will go up against the best of them. Especially on the chemistry part, I know by heart how to make most every steroid.
THG is believed to be the second generation of "the clear." The initial product was Norbolethone, a steroid created in the 1960s that was never mass produced. Once that was found in a urine test belonging to U.S. cyclist Tammy Thomas, whom Arnold helped defend in her appeal to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, THG emerged.
Anti-doping scientists marveled at its potency and its remarkable ability to avoid detection. The standard method to find chemical fingerprints of banned steroids involves heating the urine, and THG, unlike other steroids, disintegrated during the heating process.
It is made from the steroid gestrinone, and the government documents indicate Arnold wired $10,722 in 2002 and 2003 to Chinese banks purportedly to pay a Chinese Internet company that sells pharmaceutical products. One of the accompanying e-mails references an order for gestrinone.
The search warrant affidavit also outlines how Arnold used Demetrious Air Freight Company to send vials of a "clear liquid" to Greece, allegedly destined for the coach of star Greek sprinters Kostas Kenderis and Katerina Thanou. The two were famously banned from the 2004 Olympics after anti-doping officials charged them with avoiding a test on the eve of Opening Ceremonies.
The documents accompanying Conte's indictment blacked out names of athletes and coaches, but the Arnold affidavit does not, casting further light on the particulars of the BALCO doping ring. Included is an e-mail from Conte warning a Greek track coach to have his athletes stop using the previously undetectable designer steroid because the coaches for Marion Jones, Tim Montgomery and Maurice Greene sent "a sample" to anti-doping officials.
"This is very unfortunate," Conte writes. "Apparently, Trevor (Graham) and company saw the performances of Zhanna (Block) and Dwain (Chambers) and realized that money was getting ready to be taken away from Marion, Tim and Maurice, and they became desperate. We might also want to somehow get (this) information to the coach for the Greek athletes Kenderis and Thanou so nobody tests positive."
At the time, Jones and Montgomery were no longer working with Conte. Block and Chambers were, and both were running well.
Also included in the 46-page affidavit is an e-mail exchange between Arnold and Milos Sarcev, a professional bodybuilder from Temecula. Sarcev inquires about undetectable substances in preparation for an upcoming competition, then writes:
"Let me know where to send money, gold or kidneys."
The indictment references a third generation of "the clear," known as DMT or Madol. It was found in a storage locker belonging to Conte during the 2003 raid, then again a few months later in a routine border check of a Canadian track athlete crossing into Canada south of Calgary. Federal agents say Conte told them all three versions of "the clear" came from Arnold.
As incriminating as the evidence may appear, it remains to be seen if Arnold ends up in prison. Conte's indictment had 42 counts, and Conte got four months. And Arnold has shown in his Internet postings a keen understanding of Federal Drug Administration laws and their loopholes. (Andro and other steroid precursors, for instance, were not initially banned and it took a separate congressional act years later to get them off the shelves of nutritional supplement stores.)
"Really," Arnold wrote on Aug. 1 as the net closed around him, "as much as the feds may want to make an example of me, with the way the law is written there is not much that can be done. Certainly they may make a media and political controversy out of it. But I don't care."
The bodybuilding industry has shown its support, devoting entire bulletin board strings to his indictment and expressing its best wishes for the impending legal battle.
"You guys are all nice to me now," Arnold wrote in a recent bodybuilding.com post, "but how many of you will actually come visit me in prison. Bring me protein cookies and stuff."
Mark Zeigler: (619) 293-2205;
Package Getting Seized?
Nov. 27-28, 2005 running thread.
Quesion posted by SOOntobBig:
"hey bros i need some opinions from you guys, i'm pretty sure that this isnt against the rules, but correct me if im wrong....Anyway i wanted to see your guys expierence with domestic packages.."
"I know international packages are seized all the time from customs and things of that sort, But how often are packages seized domestic, in the states"
"I know alot of people are always posting about getting there shit takin away and getting a letter in the mail about it but they never say if its from another country or U.S"
"Another question, Size of packages and UPS and Post office have anything to do with it"
"Aright thanks alot guys, reps to people with some good replies, even though i have little rep, little rep goes a long way =D"
Posted by twistedlndscape
"USPS is NO problem other then like he said, a leaky package from a vial breaking. UPS is fine too. Drug dogs don't smell steroids so no biggie either way. Domestic is the way to go."
"Unless the source is a piece of shit and sells rec drugs too. Trace elements of rec drugs on capped vials WILL tip dogs off. So make sure you trust your source."
"theres a greater chance of UPS or FedEx gettin seized than USPS (us post office) because there are fewer packages to be inspected, but domestic packs are rarely seized"
"Not true. I worked at UPS there is no way a domestic package will be seized."
"thanks guys, yeah i heard the only way the package is going to be tampered with is if the source tips off the feds, good deal fellas"
"just gotta make sure those babys dont leak"
Patrick Arnold Indicted thread:
Better Living through Chemistry
I have yet to see someone robbing a liquor store because he wanted to get bigger.
The anti-steroid craze is just more nanny-state nuttiness.
If adult people want to do this to themselves, it's their business.
The Great Steroid Craze of 2005 makes this a particularly bad season to be a slumping star. Unexpectedly steep performance declines are no longer merely a source of disappointment, but of suspicion, too.
But despite the media hysteria, there's no scientific proof that steroids enhance baseball performance. Steroids are medically proven only to increase muscle mass, strength and endurance - none of which directly relate to the ability to hit or throw a baseball.
One must assume that testing and harsh penalties have significantly decreased steroid use. Has there been a significant decrease in "power" hitting and pitching stats through April? Homers are down about 13 percent from this point in 2004 and scoring is down seven percent. On the pitching side, strikeouts are flat. But walks are down about eight percent.
However, all to often kids are lured into steroid use for a "better body through chemistry" and hopes of being that "star" athlete.
Yes, it's "for the children."
The problem with steroids in sports is it puts pressure on the other competition crazed atheletes to do steroids too to keep up. It wouldn't be as big a deal if it weren't for the side effects.
I read an article last week that said the next big thing is going to be elective surgery for athletes. For example, if a batter can have LASIK to improve his eyesight and thus his hitting, why can't a pitcher have his rotator cuff tendons reinforced and shortened a little to get another 2-3 mph on the ball? They do it all the time after an injury, why not do it to a healthy arm?
Adults can make their own decisions, I could care less. Kids lured into it by "self esteem" issues and "self"-performance on the field make for another issue. There are no Team sports anymore. It's about a handful of players who benefit handsomely for "stardumb" and endorsement gratification.
Bodybuilding, they know the risks. How they choose to compete is of no interest to me.
It's all about the Money!
Chemist Patrick Arnold sure looks a heck of alot like Robert Downey Jr.
Makes sense I guess.
Professional sports are private organizations. As private organizations, the First Amendment guarantees their right to make their own rules. Hence, they are free to ban, or not ban, the use of steroids by their players.
The government has no business being involved.
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