MOBILE, Ala. -- A federal judge today handed down a 4-year prison term to a local pharmacist convicted of participating in a nationwide conspiracy to illegally sell anabolic steroids made in Mobile.
J. Michael Bennett, who was supervising pharmacist at Applied Pharmacy Services, was the first to be sentenced from a group of 5 men found guilty after a five-week trial earlier this year. His punishment was less than half of the 7 years and 4 months sought by prosecutors.
"I stand before you a different man than the one who worked for APS in 2005, even than the one who stood before the magistrate (judge) in 2007," a chastened Bennett told U.S. District Judge Ginny Granade. "I had no idea what I was doing was inappropriate."
Bennett's co-defendants, the owners of the pharmacy and an anti-aging clinic owner, are scheduled to be sentenced at a later date, and Granade suggested they face stiffer punishment.
"I don't think in the overall scheme of things, (Bennett's) culpability matches that of the pharmacy owners," the judge said.
Prosecutors referred to Bennett, 44, and the others in a sentencing memorandum as a "drug dealers in lab coats." They contended that Bennett played a key role in an enterprise involving rogue doctors and health clinics across the country who used the compounding pharmacy to supply healthy adults with dangerous steroids.
Some of those substances were veterinary drugs approved only for use in livestock.
"These are steroids for horses and cows, not for young people and humans," Assistant U.S. Attorney Donna Dobbins said.
According to court records, Applied Pharmacy Services shipped 762,388 dosages to 17 doctors and clinics from April 4, 2004, until Aug. 30, 2006. The U.S. Attorney's Office in Mobile contends that does not include many other doctors and clinics that they say participated in the conspiracy.
UFC heavyweight Shane Carwin, along with former Olympic gold medal winner and current professional wrestler Kurt Angle, were named as recipients of steroid orders that included Bennett's signature or initials:
- Shane Carwin, a former NCAA Division II wrestling champion who went on to become an Ultimate Fighting heavyweight champion.
- Kurt Angle, a former Olympic gold medal-winning wrestler and professional wrestler.
- Bob Howard, a pro wrestler from Mobile who performed under the name "Hardcore" Bob Holly.
- Tony Freeman, a professional bodybuilder nicknamed "The X-Man."
- Quincy Taylor, a professional bodybuilder.
- Dennis Newman, a professional bodybuilder.
Troy Zuccolotto, a professional bodybuilder.
Emphasis added. To what extent any of those named by U.S. Attorney Dobbins actually used steroids, I'll leave that judgment up to you. We have no way of definitely knowing, so I can't ethically speculate. I'm not morally horrified by steroid use, although I'm sure others out there don't share my opinion. And I don't expect tremendous fallout from this, but it is noteworthy.
Rather than inflame the situation with speculative guesswork, I'll echo this restrained sentiment from WKR:
Now, let's not jump the gun and call Shane Carwin a "roider" just because his name came out in court as evidence for allegedly receiving shipments of steroids along with 2 professional wrestlers (a business notorious for steroids) and 4 bodybuilders (another business notorious for steroids)...
...I'm sure he will be addressing this via Twitter, his website, or select media outlets. All we have is the word of a man under oath and penalty of a court of law and receipts of orders containing steroids addressed to Mr. Carwin that were directly signed by the convicted Bennett.
I'm sure more details will follow as they are released.
Nothing to see here, folks. Just move along.
UPDATE: Justin Klein, who runs the fantastic Fight Lawyer blog, has this nugget:
While the names of the athletes are not provided in full (the list of the names was separately provided in unredacted form under seal) the chart below from the Sentencing Memorandum provides, inter alia, the types of steroids used and the timeframe for what appears to be the abbreviation of the athletes' names.