Feds raid lab of ex-BALCO chemist

Josh Peter

Federal agents raided a company led by the chemist who was at the center of the BALCO steroids scandal and linked to a recent positive drug test by a major-league pitcher, Yahoo! Sports has learned.

Patrick Arnold, who created "The Clear" – a drug distributed through the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative to disgraced sprint queen Marion Jones and other high-profile athletes – leads ErgoPharm Inc., the company raided Wednesday in Champaign, Ill.

Agents for the Drug Enforcement Administration executed a document warrant at the company. No arrests were made, officials familiar with the action said.

DEA agents from the Chicago headquarters carried out the raid with assistance from the Champaign police department, spokesmen from both agencies confirmed. The case originated with the DEA offices in Boston, spokesmen from the other agencies said.

"Anything to do with that is under seal, so I'm not going to be able to talk about it," said Tony Pettigrew, public information officer for the DEA headquarters in Boston. Pettigrew referred all questions to U.S. Attorney's office in New Hampshire.

Requests for comment from the U.S. Attorney's office in New Hampshire were not immediately returned. A spokesman for the DEA headquarters in Washington, also declined comment.

Attempts to reach officials at ErgoPharm were unsuccessful.

J.C. Romero, a relief pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies, was suspended earlier this month for the first 50 games of next season after testing positive for androstenedione – better known as andro – used by Mark McGwire in the 1990s. Federal law classifies andro as an anabolic steroid that is believed to increase testosterone levels.

Arnold was the first to manufacture androstenedione and bring it to the market.

Romero blamed his positive test on 6-OXO, a supplement developed by Arnold's company and touted by ErgoPharm's website as "the new gold standard for testosterone elevation."

Arnold pleaded guilty in 2006 to one count of conspiracy to distribute steroids as part of the federal prosecution of BALCO. He was sentenced to three months in prison and three months' home confinement.