If you thought the Biogenesis scandal couldn't get any more seedy or bizarre, you haven't been paying enough attention to the case that brought down A-Rod and resulted in seven indictments last week, including one against clinic founder Tony Bosch.
Feds have now arrested three other men tied to the scandal, including Gary Jones -- the guy who sold Major League Baseball a batch of stolen Biogenesis records -- on charges that he sold an AK-47 to an undercover agent. Anthony Carbone, the registered agent of one of Tony Bosch's anti-aging operations, has also been booked on drug charges.
The new charges come from a separate investigation carried out by agents from the Food and Drug Administration, Palm Beach Sheriff's officers, and a couple of snitches facing federal cases of their own.
Two of the men targeted became key players in the shady South Florida aftermath of New Times' original investigation into the Biogenesis clinic.
Jones is a colorful character -- a tanning bed repairman convicted of counterfeiting in the '80s in Connecticut. He met the whistleblower in the Biogenesis case, a spurned investor named Porter Fischer who exposed the clinic's performance-enhancing-drug business, in the months after New Times' January 2013 story as MLB swooped into South Florida to try to gather evidence against the players connected to Bosch.
Months later, Jones brokered two separate sales of Biogenesis records to MLB officials at a Boca diner. The second batch in particular was troublesome -- they'd been stolen in broad daylight from Fischer's car at a Boca Raton tanning salon owned by Carbone.
MLB has maintained it didn't know the records were stolen when it bought them, and an employee of Carbone's has since been charged with the break-in, though he maintains he had no role in it.
Both men have bigger problems now. Using a pair of cooperating witnesses, the feds began closing in on Carbone and Jones this past January, according to a charging document unsealed late last week in federal court.
Along with a third man, Frank Fiore -- a business partner of Carbone's in a new cigar bar in Boca -- the feds say the cooperating witnesses helped broker an escalating series of illegal deals between the men and the undercover agents.
Carbone and Fiore, they say, sold the undercover cops thousands of counterfeit Xanax pills and steroids, with Fiore also dealing in counterfeit cash. He often used clumsy slang, calling the faked bills "art," and once handed over the Xanax in a box of Goya red beans and rice.
Jones, meanwhile, is accused of counterfeiting the Xanax and brokering a deal to sell the undercover cops an AK-47 for $1,000.
The deals continued through July and also allegedly included Fiore trying to persuade a cooperating witness to break his brother-in-law's leg and Carbone attempting to broker a deal for a kilo of cocaine.
Jones, just to reiterate, is a man who was paid tens of thousands of dollars by Major League Baseball to hand over records MLB officials needed to build a case against Alex Rodriguez and the other athletes involved.
Carbone and Fiore are charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and counterfeit drugs, while Jones is charged with unlawful transport of firearms. None of the men has entered pleas yet.
In my book about the scandal, Blood Sport: Alex Rodriguez, Biogenesis, and the Quest to End Baseball's Steroid Era, co-author Gus Garcia-Roberts and I detail Carbone's history and some other shady crimes connected to his tanning salon.
In one case, an overnight desk clerk was attacked and beaten by a mysterious late-night assailant; when the attacker turned out to be a good friend of Carbone's, police tried to retrieve security footage, only to discover it had been mysteriously lost. A source close to his crew told us Carbone believed the clerk was stealing from him and ordered the beat-down, though Carbone denied that allegation. (The clerk's mother, meanwhile, said her son was so afraid of the tanning salon owner he fled the country.)