Pro wrestlers latest linked to US internet steroid case
March 20, 2007
NEW YORK (AFP) - Eleven professional wrestlers have reportedly been linked in documents to the internet drug distribution ring that has produced charges against 20 people.
In a web site posting, Sports Illustrated magazine said investigators uncovered the names while sorting through information seized in raids last month on Florida firms allegedly prescribing steroids and human growth hormone over the internet.
Several Major League Baseball players, boxer Evander Holyfield and others have been linked to the scheme, most issuing strong denials in response to reports that surfaced in the wake of the raids.
Arizona doctor David Wilbirt, the magazine reported, was investigated from 2001 to 2005 for allegedly writing 3,879 prescriptions to patients over the internet, some from the pro wrestling ranks and better known by stage names.
Kurt Angle, a 1996 Olympic champion freestyle wrestler, allegedly received prescriptions for trenbolone and nandrolone in 2004 and 2005.
Wilbirt was billed for the steroid stanozolol and another drug sent to pro wrestling star Eddie Guerrero, who died in 2005 from what a coroner said was heart disease complicated by the use of anabolic steroids.
Oscar Gutierrez also allegedly received prescriptions for Wilbirt for steroids stanozolol and nandrolone while Shane Helms and Adam Copeland received human growth hormone, Sports Illustrated reported.
Wrestler Randy Orton, who allegedly received prescriptions for six different drugs from the same two doctors whose names are linked to prescriptions for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Gary Matthews.
Wilbirt, whose medical license has been suspended, told the magazine, "I don't remember half the stuff you are talking about" and added "they had done blood work and had laboratory work done and they had come to see me."
Investigators are expected to deliver names of athletes who appear in the documents they uncover to sports leagues as early as next week, although the main focus of the probe is eliminating distributors not chasing customers.