Longform

A Miami Clinic Supplies Drugs to Sports' Biggest Names

UPDATE: Seven months after New Times published its investigation into Biogenesis and its founder, Tony Bosch, Major League Baseball suspended 14 players tied to the clinic, the most drug-related suspensions in the history of American professional sports. Those suspensions included a 65-game ban for former MVP Ryan Braun and a record 211-game suspension for Yankees star Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod challenged his ban and sued MLB and the Yankees; an arbitrator later ruled Rodriguez would be banned for the full 2014 baseball season. In August, Bosch and nine other men tied to his steroid ring were charged with a variety of crimes in federal court. Bosch agreed to cooperate with prosecutors and plead guilty; he faces up to a decade in prison for illegally selling testosterone.

Open the neat spreadsheet and scroll past the listing of local developers, prominent attorneys, and personal trainers. You'll find a lengthy list of nicknames: Mostro, Al Capone, El Cacique, Samurai, Yukon, Mohamad, Felix Cat, and D.R.

Then check out the main column, where their real names flash like an all-star roster of professional athletes with Miami ties: San Francisco Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera, Oakland A's hurler Bartolo Colón, pro tennis player Wayne Odesnik, budding Cuban superstar boxer Yuriorkis Gamboa, and Texas Rangers slugger Nelson Cruz. There's even the New York Yankees' $275 million man himself, Alex Rodriguez, who has sworn he stopped juicing a decade ago.

See also:

"Special Report: Tony Bosch and Biogenesis - MLB Steroid Scandal"

"The A Rod Files: Every Mention of the Yankees Slugger in Tony Bosch's Records"

"The Melky Files: All the Mentions of Melky Cabrera in Tony Bosch's Records"

"The Tony Bosch Files: Nelson Cruz, Yasmani Grandal, Wayne Odesnik, Yuriorkis Gamboa, Yasmani Grandal, Jimmy Goins and Yuri Sucart's Records"

Read further and you'll find more than a dozen other baseball pros, from former University of Miami ace Cesar Carrillo to San Diego Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal to Washington Nationals star Gio Gonzalez. Notable coaches are there too, including UM baseball conditioning guru Jimmy Goins.

The names are all included in an extraordinary batch of records from Biogenesis, an anti-aging clinic tucked into a two-story office building just a hard line drive's distance from the UM campus. They were given to New Times by an employee who worked at Biogenesis before it closed last month and its owner abruptly disappeared. The records are clear in describing the firm's real business: selling performance-enhancing drugs, from human growth hormone (HGH) to testosterone to anabolic steroids.

Interviews with six customers and two former employees corroborate the tale told by the patient files, the payment records, and the handwritten notebooks kept by the clinic's chief, 49-year-old Anthony Bosch.

Bosch's history with steroids also adds credence to the paperwork. The son of a prominent Coral Gables physician named Pedro Publio Bosch, he was connected with banned substances when slugger Manny Ramirez was suspended for violating Major League Baseball's drug policy in 2009. At the time, MLB confirmed the Drug Enforcement Administration was probing the father and son for allegedly providing Ramirez with HCG, a compound often used at the tail end of steroid cycles.

The Bosches were never charged with a crime. Both Pedro and Anthony Bosch failed to respond to a hand-delivered letter and then, reached on their cell phones, declined to speak with New Times. The nine athletes and one coach named in this article didn't respond to emails and phone calls seeking comment, but when New Times began asking questions last week, sources leaked information to the New York Daily News and ESPN to soften the blow.

MLB issued this statement responding to questions about the Bosches: "We are always extremely disappointed to learn of potential links between players and the use of performance-enhancing substances and have been active in the issues that have emerged in South Florida... [B]anned substances... have no place in our game."

Taken as a whole, New Times' three-month investigation into Biogenesis adds fuel to the raging national debate over the role of steroids and HGH in sports. It follows an embarrassing Hall of Fame election that saw no steroid-era stars enshrined and comes just weeks after cycling star Lance Armstrong described to the Oprah Network his own chemical cheating. Now, as baseball teams head to spring training under a tougher new policy, the Biogenesis records affirm that the war on doping has been as futile as the War on Drugs.

"In general, almost every drug these records describe coming from this clinic is well known in the world of illegal doping," says Dr. Gary Wadler, a past chairman of World Anti-Doping Agency's Prohibited List and Methods Sub-Committee, after listening to a description of the records.

The story of how Anthony Bosch built the East Coast version of BALCO — the notorious California lab that provided baseball greats such as Jason Giambi and Barry Bonds with steroids — doesn't just shine a harsh light on America's drug-addled pro sports. It also makes clear that federal crackdowns have done little to police anti-aging clinics, which earn millions annually from average citizens wanting to look younger and from elite athletes seeking an edge.

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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink