Man who concocted 'the clear' gets 3 months in prison
SAN FRANCISCO -- The rogue chemist who created the previously undetectable steroid dubbed "the clear" was sentenced Friday to three months in prison and three months of home confinement for his role in a widening sports drug scandal.
Patrick Arnold was the last of five defendants convicted of steroid-distribution charges connected to the Burlingame-based Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, a nutritional supplement company federal authorities exposed as a steroid distribution ring for top athletes.
"The behavior reflected here is destructive and damaging to Arnold, damaging to the community and damaging to the nation as a whole," U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston said. Arnold was ordered to report to prison by Sept. 19.
"I'm very regretful for what I've done and especially since what it has precipitated in sports and society," Arnold said outside court. "I do believe there should be a level playing field and that this whole things needs to be addressed."
Federal prosecutors declined to comment outside court.
Arnold created a steroid in his Illinois laboratory that sports authorities couldn't detect using traditional tests for cheaters.
Arnold and his BALCO co-conspirators were tripped up when track coach Trevor Graham anonymously mailed a syringe containing the clear to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency in June 2003.
Graham is now reportedly a target of the federal steroids investigation and is connected to eight athletes who have either tested positive or were suspended for using performance-enhancing drugs.
The anti-doping agency has now developed a test to detect when athletes have used "the clear."
In April, Arnold pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of conspiracy to distribute steroids.
He was indicted in November on a charge of conspiring with BALCO founder Victor Conte to distribute tetrahydragestrinone, also known as "the clear," a powerful steroid that helped athletes add muscle mass and recover quickly from intense workouts.
"The defendant bears a heavy burden for his key role in effectively polluting professional sports with drugs which were designed to cheat the system," prosecutors said in court papers urging the prison term.
The BALCO probe has netted guilty pleas from Conte, Bonds' trainer Greg Anderson, BALCO vice president James Valente and track coach Remi Korchemny.
The scientist was snared after federal agents raided his Champaign, Ill., lab last year.
Arnold was best known for introducing the steroid precursor androstenedione to the United States. Nicknamed "andro," the chemical came to public attention in 1998 when St. Louis Cardinals slugger Mark McGwire said he used it when he broke baseball's single-season home run record.
The indictment against Arnold alleged he trafficked in performance-enhancing drugs that were designed to avoid detection.
According to leaked excerpts of Bonds' testimony reported in the San Francisco Chronicle, Bonds told the BALCO grand jury he used a clear substance and a cream given to him by Anderson. Bonds, the second greatest home run hitter in the major leagues, testified that Anderson informed him the substances were the nutritional supplement flaxseed oil and a rubbing balm for arthritis.
Giants athletic trainer Stan Conte -- no relation to Victor Conte -- Bonds' surgeon Arthur Ting and Anderson have been summoned to testify in front of the grand jury investigating Bonds for perjury and tax evasion.
The same grand jury also reportedly is investigating track coach Graham in connection with steroid distribution to some of the elite athletes he helped train.
The case is United States v. Arnold, 05-00703.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press