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Alleged steroids dealer says he sold to pro athletes

Florida man claims members of Capitals and Nationals were among his buyers.

TAMPA, Fla. — A central Florida man arrested with thousands of anabolic steroid pills told investigators he sold to professional athletes, including players on the Washington Nationals and Capitals, authorities said Wednesday.

Richard Thomas boasted about selling steroids to professional baseball, hockey and football players, saying, “You name the sport, and I’ve sold steroids to athletes who play it,” the Polk County Sheriff’s Office said.

Authorities said Thomas didn’t name specific players, and they have no evidence he sold to members of those teams.

Investigators who searched Thomas’ house in Lakeland on Tuesday recovered thousands of anabolic steroid pills, injectable liquids and syringes with an estimated wholesale value of $100,000, said Carrie Eleazer, a spokeswoman with the sheriff’s office. They also found several weapons, including loaded semiautomatic handguns.

Thomas and his wife, Sandra, were charged Tuesday with several counts of possession of illegal steroids, firearms, and maintaining a dwelling for drug use. Thomas and his wife were booked into the Polk County Jail on $215,000 each. Sandra Thomas posted bond and was released on Wednesday. Richard Thomas remained in jail and was expected to appear in court today. Sheriff’s records did not list an attorney.

Capitals players passed three rounds of drug tests during each of the past two seasons, and neither the team nor officials from the National Hockey League had reason to believe Thomas’s claims, the league and the team said in a joint release Wednesday.

A spokesman for Major League Baseball, which also randomly tests for steroids, said the organization is looking into the matter. Nationals president Stan Kasten said he had been in touch with MLB and didn’t have any cause for concern.

“For now, the story is what it is,” he said in a conference call. “I don’t know anything more than that.”

Local authorities executed search warrants in Lakeland, about 30 miles east of Tampa, after receiving information from agents with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Philadelphia.

Thomas told detectives he imported steroids from all around the world, including Iran, Pakistan, Slovakia, Russia, China, Turkey, Spain, Mexico and Germany. The sheriff’s office said both Thomas and his wife were semiprofessional body builders, and that he claimed to be the largest steroids dealer in central Florida.

“He was very boastful,” Eleazer said.

Thomas’ mother told detectives the suspect was introduced to steroids by his father. When asked about steroids, Thomas told investigators, “It’s all I’ve ever known,” according to the sheriff’s office.

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