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The Unwitting Confessions of a Smuggler : A Pair of Steroid Confederates Discuss Business as the Feds Listen In

Times Staff Writer

William P. Dillon, a steroid smuggler, was talking on the telephone with an old friend and confederate, Daniel Duchaine.

“I’ve been on edge pretty much,” Dillon confessed to Duchaine, author of an underground guide to steroid use, in the May, 1987, conversation.

Duchaine coolly advised him to take it easy. “I don’t think you have any worry from the government,” said Duchaine. He was much mistaken, it would turn out. “If they wanted to do anything, it would have been done. . . . You can’t be paranoid for the rest of your life.”

Cooperating With Authorities

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Dillon wanted to talk, and with good reason. He was cooperating with federal authorities and had allowed an agent to monitor and tape the call, a transcript of which is now in court files. He allowed his friend Duchaine to ramble on about the smuggling business, providing much-needed details for U.S. lawmen.

Two weeks after the conversation, Dillon and Duchaine were among 34 individuals indicted in connection with a steroid-smuggling ring that allegedly produced counterfeit drugs in Tijuana and marketed them throughout the United States as the real thing. More than two dozen accused, including three of the alleged ringleaders--Dillon, Duchaine and David Jenkins, a former British Olympic medal winner--have entered guilty pleas and are awaiting sentencing in U. S. District court in San Diego. The three face maximum sentences of 16 years and fines of $1 million.

The taped phone conversation provides a glimpse into the insular world of the $100-million steroid black market, a world of clandestine laboratories, heady profits and fanatical gym enthusiasts who are so dedicated to their physical prowess that they boldly risk taking dangerous drugs to increase their strength and musculature.

Dillon and Duchaine are themselves body builders, both in their 30s. And both made a lot of fast money in the steroid-smuggling operation, which began in early 1986.

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“I went out and bought all the things I wanted to buy,” Duchaine said in the telephone conversation. “Once the acquisition(s) (were) complete. . . . I really got tired of them. I really didn’t want to have to worry about where my Cobra (a sports car) was at 10 at night and . . . if someone’s gonna rip it or run a key down it. . . . Now that I bought all my toys, I really have nothing I really want to go out and buy.”

Indicated They Were Getting Out

At the time of the conversation, both men indicated they were getting out of the business, in part because they were fed up, in part because price wars had driven down profit margins, in part because they were nervous about recent arrests and, in Dillon’s case, violence by former partners. Duchaine also expressed reservations about the arrival of violence-prone “coke people” on the steroid scene.

Both men seemed bitter toward their Mexican partners, who, they contend, misled them. Duchaine referred derisively to Jenkins, the one-time track star who lives in Carlsbad, as an “errand boy” for the Tijuana connection.

Judging by the conversation, it appears the two never expected the smuggling network to grow as huge as it did.

“It’s weird,” Dillon said, steering the conversation toward the ring’s beginning, “because what started off innocent . . . just a way to get more production . . . it just turned into a monster.”

Both men apparently shared the doubts that U.S. authorities have expressed about the quality of counterfeit steroids, particularly those from Mexico. “You really can’t trust anything from the underground anymore,” Duchaine said.

“It’s getting kind of scary,” Dillon agreed. “I(‘m) not even taking anything now.”

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They also talked about an upcoming body-building meet.

“The competition gets harder every year, uh?” Duchaine said.

“Yeah,” Dillon replied, “as the drugs get better, I hope.”


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