Two more arraigned in nationwide steroids probe

Updated: March 7, 2007, 12:24 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Two more people linked to a nationwide investigation into the illegal sale of steroids were arraigned Tuesday on drug-related charges as published reports implicated more athletes, including former Atlanta Braves relief pitcher John Rocker and veteran third baseman David Bell.

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SI.com reported Rocker, Bell and 1996 Olympic wrestling gold medalist Kurt Angle all showed up on a client list of Applied Pharmacy, a Mobile, Ala., company raided in connection with the investigation.

Rocker's publicist told the New York Daily News that Rocker admitted using HGH but he said he needed the substance for medical reasons.

"That was a growth hormone that was prescribed by a doctor in relation to his rotator cuff surgery in 2003, so I don't really think there is anything to the story," Debi Curzio told the paper.

Human growth hormone, however, is generally prescribed in adults for AIDS related wasting and growth hormone deficiency -- usually caused by a pituitary tumour -- not for the procedure Rocker underwent.

SI.com reported that Rocker received two prescriptions for somatropin between April and July 2003.

Bell, a veteran third baseman who is not on a major league roster for 2007, told SI.com he received the shipment of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) last April but said the drug was prescribed "for a medical condition," which he declined to disclose.

Steven and Karen Lampert of Anti-Aging Centers in Nanuet pleaded not guilty in an Albany County, N.Y., courtroom and were released without bail. They are charged with submitting prescriptions to a Florida pharmacy -- some "obviously forged," according to the district attorney -- for drugs totaling more than $50,000 for people without a medical need.

Steven Lampert is charged with 20 counts, his wife with two.

"It seems as though our clients have much less involvement than the others," said Jay Golland, a lawyer for Karen Lampert.

Prosecutors describe the Lamperts as "criminal associates" of Signature Pharmacy in Orlando, Fla. Albany County District Attorney David Soares says Signature was at the center of a web of businesses and doctors that illegally wrote prescriptions for steroids.

The arraignments come a day after not guilty pleas were entered in Albany by 11 other defendants, including four Signature Pharmacy officials.

Soares also acknowledged that bodybuilder Victor Martinez was an "unindicted co-conspirator" in the case and is linked to the Lamperts' Anti-Aging Centers. Martinez won the Arnold Classic bodybuilding competition Saturday in Ohio.

A spokesman for Schwarzenegger said he wants bodybuilders to stop using steroids.

"He's clearly opposed to these steroids," said Aaron McLear. "And he's working with top officials in the bodybuilding community to come up with a system where they rid the sport of steroids."

Martinez told The New York Times he bought testosterone from the Lamperts after their clinic told him he had low levels of the hormone. He also said the company asked him to become a partner, but he declined.

"I didn't trust them, and other people were warning me not to do business with them," Martinez told The Times.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.