WESTON, Fla. -- A year to the day that Major League Baseball handed down more than a dozen suspensions in the Biogenesis scandal, highlighted by embattled slugger Alex Rodriguez, federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents conducted an early Tuesday morning roundup that led to charges against the former clinic founder, Tony Bosch, and others tied to his operation.
Shortly after 6 a.m. ET, federal agents began driving up with the handcuffed suspects at the DEA regional office on the outskirts of Fort Lauderdale. Bosch and his attorney drove to the DEA office to surrender. Several of his associates with ties to the anti-aging/wellness business were picked up at their homes in the pre-dawn hours and brought in for processing.
Federal sources said Bosch, 50, had reached a deal to plead guilty to conspiracy to distribute anabolic steroids. The U.S. Attorney's office in Miami scheduled a news conference for later Tuesday to detail the charges.
Sources told "Outside the Lines" that MLB players and other pro athletes are not the focus of the federal investigation; rather, authorities focused solely on potential illegal activities involving Bosch and other associates.
Bosch, a self-described biochemist, has been at the head of the largest performance-enhancing drug scandal in American sports history. To date, nearly 20 professional players connected to his clinic have been suspended by MLB after either after having tested positive or their doping regimens having been uncovered in clinic records. The list includes some of baseball's marquee names, led by A-Rod, Ryan Braun, Nelson Cruz, Melky Cabrera and Bartolo Colon.
At least 25 players, either by name or nickname, appeared in clinic documents reviewed by "Outside the Lines," though MLB lacked sufficient evidence to bring suspensions against all of them. Sources have indicated the number of MLB players who dealt with Bosch over the years could be significantly higher.
Records reveal Bosch also serviced athletes from other sports, entertainers and South Florida business-types, often prescribing regimens of growth hormone and testosterone.
Bosch later served as the lead witness in MLB's case against Rodriguez, who appealed his suspension. To gain his cooperation -- as well as access to his text, email and other evidence against A-Rod and other players -- baseball officials agreed to drop a civil lawsuit it had filed against him, to indemnify him against civil charges while also promising to put in a good word if he were to face criminal charges, though MLB obviously isn't in position to influence a federal investigation.
The agreement was reached in June 2013, just two months before a federal grand jury in Miami began hearing evidence in the case centered on Bosch and his shuttered wellness clinic. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Patrick Sullivan and Sharad Motiania led the prosecution, while the DEA coordinated the investigation.
Porter Fischer, a former patient/client who briefly served as marketing director of Biogenesis, appeared before the grand jury and turned over clinic documents. At the time, federal law enforcement officials asked Florida investigators to "stand down" in a separate the state was conducting of Bosch and his operation.