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Conte sentenced to 4 months in prison, 4 at home

10/18/2005

SAN FRANCISCO -- Victor Conte was sentenced to four months
in prison and four months' home confinement Tuesday for his role as
the mastermind in a scheme to provide pro athletes with
undetectable banned drugs.
Conte, who negotiated a plea deal with federal prosecutors,
started the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative. The lab, according to
court records, counted dozens of prominent athletes among its
clients, including baseball's Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi and
Olympic track and field star Marion Jones.
Greg Anderson, Bonds' trainer and friend since childhood, was
sentenced to three months behind bars and three months in home
confinement after pleading guilty to money laundering and a steroid
distribution charge.
James Valente, BALCO's vice president, was sentenced to
probation after pleading guilty to reduced charges of steroid
distribution.
Outside the courthouse, Conte read a statement saying he wanted
to rid the sporting world of steroids.
"I've decided to direct my knowledge, experience and
determination toward making sports more honorable for the athletes
and fans," Conte said.
The case prompted pro sports to stiffen steroid policies and
thrust performance-enhancing drugs into the spotlight. THG, a
steroid uncovered in the investigation, is now banned throughout
sports.
Conte pleaded guilty in July to money laundering and a steroid
distribution charge; dozens of counts were dropped as part of his
plea deal. Anderson and Conte, who remain free on bond, are
scheduled to surrender to prison authorities Dec. 1.
U.S. Attorney Kevin Ryan in San Francisco has said the plea
deals, which some anti-doping officials have criticized as too
lenient, were spurred in part by weak steroid laws and by the fact
that some of the chemicals were not banned at the time.
Track coach Remi Korchemny, the fourth and final defendant in
the case, is expected to get probation at a later sentencing date.
Meanwhile, officials are taking aim at the alleged BALCO
suppliers.
Last month, federal agents raided a laboratory in Champaign,
Ill., headed by Patrick Arnold, who's known for introducing the
steroid precursor androstenedione in the United States. Andro came
to public attention in 1998 when Mark McGwire said he used it when
breaking the single-season home run record.
Court records suggested Arnold supplied BALCO with THG, which
was known as "the clear."
The two dozen or so athletes who appeared before a grand jury in
2003, including Bonds, Giambi and Jones, were not targets of the
steroid probe. They were granted immunity in exchange for their
testimony.