08-14-2010, 05:56 PM
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Apache Juntion, AZ
Shane Carwin linked to steroid use
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.
J Michael Bennett.JPGView full sizeJ. Michael Bennett ... gets four years in steroids case.
"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.
Those performance-enhancing drugs ended up in the hands of users ranging from professional athletes to teenagers looking to build body mass. Prosecutors cited 22 professional athletes who obtained steroids from Applied Pharmacy Services during the time Bennett worked there.
In court today, Dobbins named seven whose orders 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.
Court documents reference 6 other professional bodybuilders, 7 professional wrestlers and 2 professional baseball players by their initials only.
Dobbins pointed to intercepted phone conversations showing Bennett taking an active role in the operation, speaking with co-defendant Brett W. Branch, who brokered many of the steroids sales.
"As the supervising pharmacist, he was the one in charge," she said. "We expect and rely on the pharmacist to make sure what we are given is save, effective and legal."
Dobbins pointed to testimony from about a half-dozen people who described side effects ranging from an intense burning feeling on their flesh to shrinkage of their testicles to depression to quarter-sized acne on their backs.
Dobbins said users "suffered severe -- in some cases permanent -- side effects."