SAN FRANCISCO – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – United States Attorney Kevin V. Ryan announced that a federal grand jury in San Francisco indicted Patrick Arnold, of Champaign, Illinois, today on a 3-count indictment charging 1) conspiracy to distribute anabolic steroids, 2) conspiracy to defraud consumers and the United States by introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce, and 3) introduction and delivery of the misbranded drug tetrahydragestrinone, also known as “The Clear” and THG, into interstate commerce with the intent to defraud and mislead. This indictment is the result of an investigation by IRS–Criminal Investigation and the Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations.
According to the indictment, Mr. Arnold, 39, an organic chemist and prohormone manufacturer in Champaign, Illinois, is charged with conspiring with Victor Conte, the President of the Bay Area Lab Cooperative (Balco), and others to misbrand and to distribute the following drugs to professional athletes without adequate labeling, directions, and warnings regarding its use:
Tetrahydragestrinone, a.k.a. THG, and “The Clear,” and
Desoxymethyltestosterone, a.k.a. DMT and “Madol”
According to the indictment, it was further part of the conspiracy to defraud that the defendant attempted to conceal his illegal activities by trafficking specifically in drugs that were designed to avoid detection by the governing bodies of various sports, such as the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, Major League Baseball, and the National Football League. As part of the conspiracy to defraud, Mr. Arnold allegedly sent packages containing THG to Mr. Conte in San Mateo County, California, wired money to individuals in China, and sent packages containing THG to a track coach in Greece.
U.S. Attorney Kevin V. Ryan stated, “Today, we have taken another important step in the ongoing effort to eliminate the use of illegal performance enhancing drugs in sports. As evidenced by today’s indictment of Mr. Arnold, who allegedly conspired to distribute anabolic steroids and misbrand drugs with the intention to defraud, we remain steadfast in our commitment to prosecuting those individuals involved in the distribution of anabolic steroids and performance-enhancing drugs. I would like to thank the Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations, and IRS–Criminal Investigation for their fine work in this investigation.”
According to IRS–Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge, Roger L. Wirth, “Today’s indictment is a direct result of what began as the BALCO investigation and the continuing hard work and dedication of the whole investigative team.”
According to the indictment, Mr. Arnold conspired with Victor Conte to distribute the anabolic steroid Norbolethone. Arnold allegedly sent an email to Mr. Conte on May 1, 2002, recommending that Conte tell athletes who were subject to testing to stop using Norbolethone. Arnold also allegedly sent a fax on the same day to Mr. Conte with an athlete’s positive test results.
“The FDA takes the alleged illegal conduct very seriously and fully supports the investigation and ultimate prosecution of profiteers who endanger our citizens by formulating and selling unapproved illegal drugs. The safety of these drugs is questionable at best – even when those who would be endangered are willing participants, motivated by a desire to gain an unfair competitive advantage by using illegal performance-enhancing substances.” said Dan Henson, Special Agent in Charge, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations, Los Angeles Field Office.
An affidavit filed by an agent of the FDA Office of Criminal Investigations in connection with a search warrant in the same matter also alleges that Mr. Arnold was the manufacturer of the three designer steroids listed above. According to the affidavit, the UCLA Olympic Analytical Lab advised investigators that THG was likely synthesized from gestrinone, an anabolic steroid, and that it was likely obtained from a company in China where it was readily available, a fact corroborated by further investigation. The affidavit also describes email exchanges between Victor Conte and Andreas Linardatos, a Greek track and field coach, which discuss the need to discontinue using THG because a sample was sent to testing authorities and it was likely that authorities would begin testing for the drug. The affidavit further alleges shipments of THG to another Greek track and field coach, Chris Tsekos (erroneously identified in the affidavit as “Chris Thickest”). According to the affidavit, an email from Patrick Arnold to Victor Conte discusses the positive test by a female cyclist for Norbolethone, and the suggestion to tell athletes to stop using the drug.
Mr. Arnold is not in custody, and an initial appearance has not yet been scheduled.
The maximum statutory penalty for each count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute anabolic steroids, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846 and 841(b)(1)(D), is five years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. The maximum statutory penalty for the count of conspiracy to defraud the United States through the introduction and delivery of misbranded drugs with intent to defraud and mislead, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371, is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The maximum statutory penalty for the count of introduction and delivery of misbranded drugs with intent to defraud and mislead, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 331(a) is three years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the Court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. 3553.
An indictment contains only allegations against an individual and, as with all defendants, Mr. Arnold must be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Jeff Nedrow, Matt Parrella, and Jeff Finigan are the Assistant U.S. Attorney’s who are prosecuting the case with the assistance of Susan Kreider. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the FDA Office of Criminal Investigations and IRS–Criminal Investigation..