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Federal law enforcement officials have asked Florida investigators to "stand down" in their investigation of self-proclaimed biochemist Tony Bosch, Major League Baseball's lead witness in a South Florida-based doping scandal involving Alex Rodriguez and more than a dozen other players, "Outside the Lines" has learned.
The reason: "The feds believe their [potential] charges are more important and are going to carry more weight" should the investigation conclude that laws were broken, a source close to the case said.
Federal authorities are expected to soon brief the state prosecutor's office on the scope of their investigation, but they asked state officials to halt their criminal investigation of those associated with the clinic. A Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office official said Thursday that it had been agreed to.
Multiple sources close to the investigation have indicated Major League Baseball players and pro athletes are not the focus of the federal investigation; rather, authorities are probing potential illegal activities involving Bosch and other associates in and outside his Biogenesis clinic. Among them:
• Whether Bosch acted in the role of a physician (he is not licensed as one).
• How the clinic obtained and administered human growth hormone, steroids and other drugs.
• And whether teenagers were provided performance-enhancing drugs. In July, "Outside the Lines" reported that sources said Bosch had provided teens with PEDs.
The Biogenesis clinic was shuttered last year, but prior to that, Bosch was connected with several other clinics, including Biokem, which was located on the same site as Biogenesis, across from the University of Miami campus. Through Porter Fischer, a former patient and briefly marketing director of Biogenesis, authorities have obtained documents pertaining to several Bosch-run clinics.
Fischer, a whistle-blower whose release of clinic documents to the Miami New Times blew open the case, appeared before a Miami federal grand jury in August. State criminal investigators opened an investigation after that, seeking statements and evidence from Fischer and other potential witnesses, according to sources.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Patrick Sullivan and Sharad Motiania are leading the federal criminal investigation.
Sources told "Outside the Lines" that Bosch and his anti-aging practices were investigated by state health investigators in 2009 and 2011, although both probes concluded without any finding of wrongdoing. Neither state nor federal investigators were quick to involve themselves when Bosch and his Biogenesis clinic surfaced in the news late in 2012, but their interest has heightened of late. The Florida Department of Health investigated Bosch's activities this year and levied a $5,000 fine.
MLB officials cut a deal for Bosch's cooperation in building its case against Rodriguez and other players. At one point, Major League Baseball attempted to obtain clinic documents from Fischer, offering him as much as $125,000. Bosch has spent this week in New York as the key witness in MLB's defense of its 211-game suspension levied against A-Rod.
T.J. Quinn of ESPN's Investigative and Enterprise Unit contributed to this report.