Wednesday, February 11, 2004
Updated: February 12, 11:25 AM ET
No athletes are expected to be indicted
SAN FRANCISCO -- Federal prosecutors are seeking indictments
against a nutritional supplements lab, its founder and the personal
trainer of baseball star Barry Bonds, The Associated Press has learned.
A grand jury in San Francisco was to be presented with
indictment papers by prosecutors Thursday morning, according to
federal law enforcement sources, who spoke Wednesday night with the
AP on condition of anonymity.
Grand jurors have spent several months probing the Bay Area
Laboratory Co-Operative and its founder, Victor Conte. Another
target of the grand jury has been personal trainer Greg Anderson.
The two federal law enforcement sources would not divulge what
charges prosecutors were seeking from the grand jury, which has
been probing possible violations of tax laws and the allegedly
improper distribution of steroids.
Conte has denied supplying athletes with banned substances. He
did not immediately respond Wednesday night to an e-mail seeking
The law enforcement sources said no indictments were being
sought now against any athletes.
The move comes three weeks after President Bush, in his State of
the Union speech, appealed to athletes and pro sports leagues to
wipe out the use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs.
Bush called on the leagues to implement stringent drug policies,
and reminded athletes that they are role models for America's
A parade of top athletes from at least five sports, ranging from
Bonds to Olympic track star Marion Jones to boxer Shane Mosley,
appeared before the grand jury probing BALCO and Anderson from late
October to mid-December.
Conte has been accused of providing the recently discovered
steroid THG to athletes. Five track and field athletes face
two-year suspensions for THG use, while four Oakland Raiders
players also flunked tests for the steroid unmasked by anti-doping
officials last summer.
The steroid was uncovered only after an unidentified track coach
gave the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency a syringe containing a substance
that ultimately was identified as THG. That coach said he got the
substance from Conte, who has denied the accusation.
BALCO, which operates out of an inconspicuous building in the
shadow of San Francisco International Airport, claims it takes
blood and urine samples from athletes and then prescribes a regimen
of supplements to compensate for vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
Bonds and other top athletes such as Raiders linebacker Bill
Romanowski have been boosters of Conte and BALCO. Bonds has been a
client since before the 2001 season -- when he set the single-season
home run record of 73.
Bonds, 39, has been working for years with Anderson, a boyhood
"I visit BALCO every three to six months. They check my blood
to make sure my levels are where they should be. Maybe I need to
eat more broccoli than I normally do. Maybe my zinc and magnesium
intakes need to increase," Bonds said in last June's issue of
Muscle & Fitness magazine.
"Victor will call me to make sure I'm taking my supplements,
and my trainer Greg will sit near my locker and stare at me if I
don't begin working out right away. I have these guys pushing me."
Conte is no stranger to the spotlight.
When four separate tests before the 2000 Sydney Olympics showed
U.S. shot putter C.J. Hunter had 1,000 times the allowable amount
of the steroid nandrolone in his system, Conte took the blame,
claiming the positive tests were the result of contaminated iron
supplements he had supplied to Hunter -- the former husband of