Update: Name #2: Evander Holyfield. Check out our profile of Signature Pharmacy. More updates: seems Matthews and Holyfield are impliacted in an Alabama pharmacy , not this Orlando one.
A huge bomb dropped today in Orlando. The Seattle Post reports that a major raid, coordinated by multiple agencies, took place in downtown Orlando. A secretive task force lead by the Albany NY (original story in the Albany Times Union) District Attorney, and the NY Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement (and likely the DEA plus other federal agents, as this appears to be interstate) struck into the heart of the Internet anabolic drug trade. Early reports indicate professionals from MLB, & the NFL, college athletes & coaches, and body builders are involved. (Orlando source: WFTV New York sources: NBC 3, Albany). The most prominent name thus far is LA Angel player Gary Matthews.
The unusual inquiry, led by Albany County's district attorney, has taken New York narcotics agents and a federal task force deep inside a maze of shadowy pharmacies and Web sites that have reaped millions of dollars in profit by allegedly exploiting federal and state prescription laws, according to court records.
More than two dozen doctors, pharmacists and business owners have been, or will be, arrested in the coming days on sealed indictments charging them with various felonies for unlawfully distributing steroids and other controlled substances, records show.
The Times Union has learned that investigators in the year-old case, which had remained quiet until now, uncovered evidence that testosterone and other performance-enhancing drugs may have been fraudulently prescribed over the Internet to current and former Major League Baseball players, National Football League players, college athletes, high school coaches, and a former Mr. Olympia champion and another top contender in the bodybuilding competition.
The pharmacy - Signature Pharmacy) delivered drug to MLB pitcher Jason Grimsley last year (Albany Times)
Further, A Pittsburgh Steeler's physician may also be involved. The reports indicate he put 150,000.00 of HGH and steroids on his personal credit card, with a retail value of 750,00O.00.
Sources also said New York Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement investigators recently interviewed a top physician for the Pittsburgh Steelers about his alleged purchase last year of roughly $150,000 of testosterone and human growth hormone.
This appears to be huge business:
Tuesday's raid of Signature Pharmacy, an Orlando business that did an estimated $36 million in business last year, could expose a long list of sports figures, celebrities and others who have turned to Internet pharmacies for illegal drugs such as steroids, authorities said.
More, from the Albany Times-Union:
Albany County District Attorney David Soares said his office pursued the case, in part, because New York has some of the strictest prescription drug laws in the country. In addition, Signature Pharmacy last year did an estimated $6 million business in New York, he said.
Among Signature's customers was Jason Grimsley, the former Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher who left baseball last year after mail-order steroids were seized at his Scottsdale home by federal agents from San Francisco involved in an ongoing investigation targeting steroid use in professional sports...
During surveillance of the pharmacy last year, investigators said they saw a Philadelphia Eagles football player enter the pharmacy, though they are not certain why he was there. They also identified a member of the Washington Redskins as being a Signature customer, according to an agent in the case.
(more on Matthews after the jump; Ironically MLB carried an article on him today)
Interestingly enough, MLB News carries a story on how Gary Matthews is finding peace with the Angels.
There have been dark days and bright days for the switch-hitting center fielder and son of the former Major Leaguer known affectionately as "Sarge." But the younger Matthews knows this: He's playing at home in Southern California this season near his mother, his grandparents and his 8-year-old son.
He's playing for an Angels team that gave him a five-year, $50 million contract and the first security he's ever had as a baseball player.
"This is a great fit for me," Matthews said Monday in the clubhouse of Tempe Diablo Stadium. "It gave me the ability to accommodate my family and still accomplish goals that I've set in my career. It's incredible that that happened to me. You couldn't have written the script any better."
We suspedt this isn't going to be a peaceful night at the Matthews' hotel room.