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Shane Carwin Linked To Federal Steroid Conspiracy Case (Update)

UFC heavyweight contender Shane Carwin has been linked to J. Michael Bennett, a pharmacist who was recently convicted and sentenced to four years in prison for participating in a nationwide conspiracy to sell anabolic steroids. Carwin along with US Olympic gold medalist/professional wrestler Kurt Angle and several other professional wrestlers and professional body builders were named in court by Assistant U.S. Attorney Donna Dobbins as individuals whose steroid orders included Bennett’s signature or initials.

The Mobile Press-Register has the full story:

A federal judge today handed down a 4-year prison term to a local pharmacist convicted of participating in a nationwide conspiracy to illegally sell anabolic steroids made in Mobile.

J. Michael Bennett, who was supervising pharmacist at Applied Pharmacy Services, was the first to be sentenced from a group of 5 men found guilty after a five-week trial earlier this year. His punishment was less than half of the 7 years and 4 months sought by prosecutors.

Prosecutors referred to Bennett, 44, and the others in a sentencing memorandum as a “drug dealers in lab coats.” They contended that Bennett played a key role in an enterprise involving rogue doctors and health clinics across the country who used the compounding pharmacy to supply healthy adults with dangerous steroids.

According to court records, Applied Pharmacy Services shipped 762,388 dosages to 17 doctors and clinics from April 4, 2004, until Aug. 30, 2006. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Mobile contends that does not include many other doctors and clinics that they say participated in the conspiracy.

Those performance-enhancing drugs ended up in the hands of users ranging from professional athletes to teenagers looking to build body mass. Prosecutors cited 22 professional athletes who obtained steroids from Applied Pharmacy Services during the time Bennett worked there.

In court today, Dobbins named seven whose orders included Bennett’s signature or initials:

  • Shane Carwin, a former NCAA Division II wrestling champion who went on to become an Ultimate Fighting heavyweight champion.
  • Kurt Angle, a former Olympic gold medal-winning wrestler and professional wrestler.

It’s important to note that this case refers to a time period prior to the start of Carwin’s UFC career, but not before he began to compete professionally in mixed martial arts. According to a chart in the Sentencing Memorandum (discovered by Justin Klein of The Fight Lawyer blog), Carwin’s steroid orders were dated from Jan. 2006 – Aug. 2006 for Trenbolone, Testosterone, Stanozolol injectable and Nandrolone. Carwin fought four times during that time period for the Extreme Wars and Ultimate Texas Showdown promotions according to Sherdog’s Fight Finder. Carwin has never failed a drug test in his professional MMA career.

Per MMA Fighting’s Mike Chiappetta, Shane Carwin has no comment at the moment, but plans to make an official statement at a later time. In his report, Chiappetta also notes that a key witness in the case was a Greeley, Colorado doctor named Kenneth Olds. Dr. Olds admitted to writing fraudulent prescriptions as a part of the conspiracy. While it hasn’t been revealed who he wrote the prescriptions for, Shane Carwin is also a Greeley, Colorado resident. Whether that’s one heck of a coincidence or something more remains to be seen. There is no evidence to connect Carwin with Olds at the present time.

Image via Esther Lin for MMA Fighting

Update: MMA Junkie’s John Morgan dug up an old story from the Greeley Tribune dating back to January 26, 2008 that provides background information on Dr. Olds and two other Greeley doctors who were implicated in the “steroid ring” referenced above. The story is a little tough to follow, but it does seem to provide the connection between Olds and Carwin. On the list of the 22 professional athletes named in the case, the doctor/clinic referenced for “S.C.”, who we presume is Shane Carwin, is listed as “Tucker/Branch dba Infinite Health.”

Now according to the story, Family Physicians Dr. Kelly Tucker and Dr. Kenneth Olds were implicated in the “steroid ring” when Dr. Scott Corliss plead guilty to his involvement. The court documents stated that the three doctors worked with Brett Branch, who was not only the owner of Infinite Health, but also a sales rep for Applied Pharmacy Services, the same pharmacy referenced in the report above.

Court documents stated Branch “recruited customers at various gyms and sports clubs,” and he received a percentage payment from Applied Pharmacy for each of the drugs dispensed to his customers. Branch approached the doctors in March or April 2005, court documents state, and he paid for Corliss and Tucker to attend the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine conference in May 2005 in Las Vegas.

Court documents stated Branch, who is not a doctor, would fax pre-printed prescription orders to Drs. Olds, Tucker and Corliss, along with his customers’ blood test results. The customers would then see the doctors, who would then sign the prescription orders, court documents state. The prescriptions were for steroids such as Trenbolone, a bovine/equine steroid not approved for human use, and Human Growth Hormone. Court documents stated Branch would pay the doctors $100 for each prescription.

In September 2005, Branch asked Corliss and Tucker to become part owners of Infinite Health, an offer that only Tucker accepted, court documents state. A month later, court documents state, Corliss read an article that stated the growth hormone he and the others had been prescribing was illegal and brought it to Branch’s and Tucker’s attention. Court documents state that Tucker and Branch replied, “Because the physicians saw the patients and reviewed their blood work, the practice was legal.”

Corliss’ participation decreased then, but court documents state when Tucker became sick in February 2006, Branch asked Corliss to see patients normally referred to Tucker. Corliss agreed, court records state, detailing 11 incidents in which Corliss prescribed illegal steroids from February 2006 to May 9, 2006.

I personally find it hard to believe, but it seems Dr. Corliss wasn’t even aware that was involved in any illegal activity, but eventually figured it out he after speaking to DEA agents in Sept. 2006. He turned himself in to the Greeley Medical Clinic and the Colorado Board of Medical Examiners shortly thereafter.

Carwin was not mentioned in this particular report, but it does seemingly refer to the same trio of doctors, the same clinic and the same time period listed beside his presumed initials in the court documents.

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