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
"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.