An illicit steroid distribution network, which may be responsible for Internet sales of performance-enhancing drugs nationwide, has been targeted by an upstate New York prosecutor. Customers reportedly included Los Angeles Angels outfielder Gary Matthews Jr., former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield and former baseball star Jose Canseco.
"We have investigated, and are prosecuting, one of the largest narcotics and steroid distributors in the nation," P. David Soares, district attorney of Albany County, N.Y., said in a statement Wednesday.
His comments came a day after federal and state agents raided two pharmacies in Orlando, Fla. So far, eight people in three states have been arrested, and prosecutors say 24 could face felony charges by the time their investigation is over.
Former Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Jason Grimsley and a doctor for the Pittsburgh Steelers were reportedly linked to Signature Pharmacy in Orlando, according to the Times Union of Albany, which first disclosed the widespread investigation.
The paper also said Matthews, Canseco and Holyfield were allegedly on the customer list of Applied Pharmacy Services in Mobile, Ala., whose two owners have been indicted by an Albany County grand jury.
SI.com, meanwhile, reported that Matthews allegedly was sent Genotropin, a brand of synthetic growth hormone, in August 2004. The drug, which came from Applied Pharmacy, was sent to the address in Mansfield, Texas, of one of Matthews' former minor league teammates, according to the Internet site.
Matthews, speaking to reporters at the Angels' spring training camp in Tempe, Ariz., said he wasn't "in a position to answer any specific questions."
"I do expect it to resolve itself here in the near future…Until we get more information, I just can't comment on it," he said.
Matthews said he did not know why his name was reportedly on Applied's customer list, adding, "That's what we're working on, trying to find out. I will address it at an appropriate time."
When reached by ESPN.com's Mike Fish on Wednesday, Holyfield said he was "not overly concerned about the situation." He said his only link to Alabama and medical services there was the purchase of medication for his father, who died of a heart ailment in January.
"For years, I bought all his medication out of Alabama," Holyfield said. "My sister takes care of that, every month, all his bills and stuff."
Holyfield took a more pointed stance in a statement released Wednesday night.
"I do not use steroids. I have never used steroids," he said. "I resent that my name has been linked to known steroid users by sources who refuse to be identified in order to generate publicity for their investigation."
Canseco's attorney, Robert Saunooke, told The Associated Press he would be surprised if the former slugger had been a client.
"I would find it highly unlikely," he said. "All the steroids that he got were prescribed to him or were from people in the gym. There's never been anything he's gotten online."
Grimsley's agent, Joe Bick, declined comment, and his attorney did not return a phone call.
Angels owner Arte Moreno said the club was seeking more information about the report, and that he, general manager Bill Stoneman and manager Mike Scioscia were among team officials who met with Matthews on Wednesday.