The New York Times reports that the physician who pumped up Scott Schoeneweis and Troy Glaus will be the target of more federal probing. Dr. Ramon Scruggs of California
Prosecutors at the United States attorney’s office for the Northern District of California are investigating a California doctor to determine whether he illegally wrote prescriptions for patients, including major league baseball players, according to three lawyers who have been briefed on the investigation.
The investigation raises the possibility that baseball will face new revelations about the use of performance-enhancing drugs in the wake of the Mitchell report.
The doctor, Ramon Scruggs, was linked last year to prescribing steroids to two major league players, Troy Glaus and Scott Schoeneweis, in 2003 and 2004. The information about Scruggs resulted from an investigation into an Internet ring of pharmacies and antiaging clinics conducted by the Albany County district attorney’s office in New York and by the authorities in Florida and Alabama.
Sources indicate more MLB player's names surfaced when the Feds took a closer look at Scruggs.
One of the lawyers said the current investigation had uncovered the names of other major league players who had received prescriptions from Scruggs. Those names are unlikely to be disclosed immediately if legal action is taken, as expected, against Scruggs in the coming months.
“It’s not as big as Radomski, but certainly is something significant,” one of the lawyers said in characterizing the investigation, referring to the investigation of the former Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk Radomski. As part of a plea agreement with those same California prosecutors, Radomski revealed the names of dozens of current and former players for the report released in December by former Senator George J. Mitchell.
Scruggs (appropriate name huh?) ran newhopemed.com where he slung PEDs over the Internet. His dealing HGH and steroids to Glaus and Sheoneweis made the pages of the Mitchell Report; neither will discuss the deal now.
In a formal accusation filed in June 2004 and updated in June 2006, the state medical board said that since 2000, Scruggs had “prescribed approximately 6,073 prescriptions of dangerous drugs or controlled substances over the Internet without a good faith examination of the patients” in and out of California.
(More Scruggs after the jump)
MLB player might not be revealed immediately, as this is an on-going investigation.
Scruggs has been under federal investigation for several years, the lawyers said, although he was not charged in connection with the Internet pharmacy cases. “The investigation went dormant for a while but got kick-started recently,” one of the lawyers said.
The names of other major league players linked to Scruggs will probably not become public for some time. In past investigations into steroid use, prosecutors have blacked out the names of athletes in search warrants and indictments. The names were unsealed only after the investigations concluded.
Scruggs presents a new challenge for investigators:
Scruggs represents a new and different challenge for the California prosecutors. Until now, their office had focused only on drug distributors. The prosecutors had to prove that an individual — like the Balco founder Victor Conte, who was not a doctor — had provided drugs to clients. In the case of Scruggs, the prosecutors will have to show that he had written prescriptions for reasons other than medical purposes.
As for Glaus and Schoeneweis, the Mitchell report said that Glaus purchased steroids through Scruggs from September 2003 to May 2004, and that Scruggs was reportedly the doctor who wrote the prescriptions for Schoeneweis, who received six shipments of steroids in 2003 and 2004.
Scruggs was open about his dealing:
In an interview published in July 2000 on the Web site anabolicextreme.com, Scruggs was described as “an antiaging and performance specialist.” In the interview, he said he was concerned about how he was perceived by his peers. “I know that I’m helping people far more than I’m hurting them,” Scruggs was quoted as saying.
“If you want to know the truth, I don’t like taking 22- or 23-year-olds and putting them on steroids; it makes me nervous,” he said. “Yet I’d rather have them come to me and manage their steroid use, than have them do it on their own.”
We will have to see where this deal now leads...more MLB names?