PITTSBURGH (AP) — A pharmacist has been sentenced to 2½ years in federal prison after pleading guilty to helping a former Pittsburgh Steelers team doctor illegally distribute anabolic steroids in an investigation spun off from a national crackdown on the performance enhancing drugs.
William Sadowski, 47, of Robinson Township, pleaded guilty in November to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute anabolic steroids and human growth hormones, or HGH, and was sentenced Tuesday by Senior U.S. District Judge Maurice Cohill Jr.
Sadowski has acknowledged helping Dr. Richard Rydze illegally distribute the body-building substances and other drugs used to prevent their negative side effects or, at least, mask their use. On Tuesday, the married father of two told the judge he let greed and profit cloud his judgment.
"I started worrying more about the bottom line than doing the right thing the right way," Sadowski said, tearfully.
Rydze, 62, has denied wrongdoing, pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial in the alleged steroids conspiracy that began a few months after the Steelers cut him from their medical staff in 2007 after more than two decades.
The team and Rydze have previously said he didn't supply steroids to Steelers players, though the investigation that targeted Rydze and Sadowski spun off from a national probe that included Applied Pharmacy Services in Mobile, Ala., which was identified as a supplier in U.S. Sen. George Mitchell's landmark 2007 report on steroid use in Major League Baseball.
The Alabama pharmacy was raided in August 2006 and shut down by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency. Its customer list included baseball players, including Gary Matthews Jr., some World Wrestling Entertainment personalities, and former heavyweight boxing champ Evander Holyfield, who has denied using steroids, let alone obtaining them from APS. The Alabama raid resulted in the conviction of five staff pharmacists, and several doctors across the country who obtained steroids illegally through the pharmacy.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Kall argued that Sadowski deserved prison to deter other pharmacists, and because he knew he was operating his Pittsburgh-based ANEWrx pharmacy illegally.
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