DA to send names linked to steroids to MLB, NFL

NEW YORK -- The Albany, N.Y., district attorney conducting a
nationwide dragnet into the illicit sale of steroids and human
growth hormone will forward the names of athletes linked to the
inquiry to pro sports leagues.

"We're going to be sending information to vet those names, see
if they are who they say they are," David Soares first told the New York
Daily News in Wednesday's editions.

Albany authorities declined to disclose Wednesday how many
athletes have come up in the probe and which sports leagues will
get letters.

"The DA will assess those issues after the research has been
completed and the information is available for him to look at
comprehensively," said Heather Orth, spokeswoman for Soares.

So far, 20 people have been indicted, and several Florida
clinics were raided. They allegedly were part of a scheme to
provide prescriptions over the Internet to clients who never
actually met with the prescribing physicians. A similar federal
prosecution also is under way in Rhode Island.

Athletes linked to the scandal, in various reports, are
baseball's Gary Matthews Jr., Jose Canseco, John Rocker, Jerry
Hairston Jr., David Bell and Darren Holmes, former heavyweight
champion Evander Holyfield, Pittsburgh Steelers doctor Richard
Rydze, 1996 Olympic wrestling gold medalist Kurt Angle and
bodybuilder Victor Martinez.

NFL and baseball officials went to Albany last week to meet with
Soares and other investigators.

"We have asked the DA's office for any information that is
relevant to the NFL within the constraints of the investigation,"
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said.

Soares has said repeatedly he's targeting distributors supplying
illicit drugs and physicians writing prescriptions for patients
they've never seen, not customers.

"Any customer not in Albany County who purchased the drugs from
a pharmacy in Florida has not broken the law in Albany County,"
Orth said.