Conte, other BALCO officials sentenced

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The man who started the lab received four months in prison and four months of home confinement.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Victor Conte was sentenced to four months in prison and four months of home confinement Tuesday for his role in a scheme to provide pro athletes with undetectable banned drugs.

Conte, who negotiated a plea deal with federal prosecutors, started the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative. The lab, according to court records, counted dozens of prominent athletes among its clients, including baseball's Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi and Olympic track and field star Marion Jones.

Greg Anderson, Bonds' trainer and friend since childhood, was sentenced to three months behind bars and three months in home confinement after pleading guilty to money laundering and a steroid distribution charge.

James Valente, BALCO's vice president, was sentenced to probation after pleading guilty to reduced charges of steroid distribution.

Outside the courthouse, Conte read a statement saying he wanted to rid the sporting world of steroids.

"I've decided to direct my knowledge, experience and determination toward making sports more honorable for the athletes and fans," Conte said.

Conte pleaded guilty in July to money laundering and a steroid distribution charge; dozens of counts were dropped as part of his plea deal. Anderson and Conte, who remain free on bond, are scheduled to surrender to prison authorities Dec. 1.

U.S. Attorney Kevin Ryan in San Francisco has said the plea deals were spurred in part by weak steroid laws and by the fact that some of the chemicals were not banned at the time.

Track coach Remi Korchemny, the fourth and final defendant in the case, is expected to get probation at a later sentencing date.

Law enforcement officials are taking aim at the alleged BALCO suppliers. Last month, federal agents raided a laboratory in Champaign, Ill., headed by Patrick Arnold, who's known for introducing the steroid precursor androstenedione in the United States. Court records suggested Arnold supplied BALCO with THG.

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