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Benoit's personal doctor surrenders to feds in drug probe

7/2/2007

ATLANTA -- The pro wrestler who strangled his wife and son
and committed suicide last month bought injectable steroids
excessively, according to court papers released Monday. His doctor
was charged with improperly prescribing drugs to other patients.

Dr. Phil Astin prescribed a 10-month supply of anabolic steroids
to Chris Benoit every three to four weeks between May 2006 and May
2007, a Drug Enforcement Administration agent said in an affidavit
filed Friday and made public Monday.

During a probe of "RX Weight Loss," Benoit was identified as
an excessive buyer of injectable steroids, the document states.
Prosecutors would not say what "RX Weight Loss" is.

The affidavit also said Astin supplied various controlled
substances, including injectable anabolic steroids, that were found
in Benoit's home.

Astin has not been charged with supplying steroids to Benoit,
though U.S. Attorney David E. Nahmias said more charges are
possible.

The anabolic steroids found in Benoit's home led officials to
wonder whether the drugs played a role in the killings that started
the weekend of June 22. Some experts believe steroids can cause
paranoia, depression and violent outbursts known as "roid rage."
Toxicology tests on Benoit's body have not been completed.

A federal indictment issued Monday charges Astin with improperly
dispensing painkillers and other drugs to two different patients.

Prosecutors allege in the seven-count indictment that Astin
dispensed drugs including Percocet, Xanax, Lorcet and Vicoprofen
between April 2004 and September 2005. The recipients were
identified in the indictment by the initials O.G. and M.J.;
Benoit's initials were not listed.

Astin pleaded not guilty and was being held in lieu of $125,000
bond. He will be under house arrest once he posts bond and must
surrender his medical license, U.S. Magistrate Judge Linda Walker
ordered.

Astin had written prescriptions for about 1 million doses of
controlled substances over the past two years, including
"significant quantities" of injectable testosterone cypionate, an
anabolic steroid, according to the criminal complaint.

The complaint by Drug Enforcement Administration agent Anissa
Jones said the amount of prescriptions was "excessive" for a
medical office with a sole practitioner in a rural area like
Carrollton, about 40 miles west of Atlanta.

Assistant U.S. Attorney John Horn said that when agents raided
the doctor's office Wednesday, Astin was carrying Benoit's medical
file.

Astin's attorney, Manny Arora, said the doctor had brought the
file because he thought the authorities would want it.

Federal drug agents have taken over the probe into whether Astin
improperly prescribed testosterone and other drugs to Benoit before
the killings and suicide in the wrestler's suburban Atlanta home
last month. State prosecutors and sheriff's officials are
overseeing the death investigation.

Investigators have conducted two raids at Astin's west Georgia
office since last week.

Astin prescribed testosterone for Benoit, a longtime friend, in
the past but has not said what, if any, medications he prescribed
when Benoit visited his office June 22, the day authorities believe
Benoit killed his wife.

"We're still asking questions and searching for answers with
regard to the death so we can tie up loose ends," said Scott
Ballard, Fayette County district attorney.

Authorities have said Benoit strangled his wife and son, placing
Bibles next to their bodies, before hanging himself with the cable
of a weight machine in his home.

The boy had old needle marks in his arms, Ballard has said. He
said he had been told the parents considered him undersized and had
given him growth hormones.

Benoit's father, Michael, said Monday that "it's impossible to
come up with a rational explanation for a very irrational act."

"Let the cards fall where they fall; we have no control over it
at this point," he said.

In a July 1 story on ESPN.com, it was reported -- citing a New York Daily News story -- that the date-rape drug GHB was found in the suburban Atlanta (Ga.) home of wrestler Chris Benoit. The Daily News report, citing sources, said that Benoit had used the drug in the past, but did not say the drug was found in the home. Updated story