Capitals Questioned About Their Ties to Chiropractor in Steroids Inquiry

Published: 2010-07-08 00:11:20
Author: MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT and JEFF Z. KLEIN | New York Times | March 23, 2010

Detectives questioned Washington Capitals players, coaches and officials on Tuesday about their ties to a chiropractor who has treated several of the team’s players and was arrested earlier in the day on charges of distributing illegal performance-enhancing drugs.

The interviews occurred at the Capitals’ training facility in Arlington, Va., and lasted several hours.

The investigation is being led by detectives from the sheriff’s office in Polk County, Fla. It was those detectives who last May arrested a married couple in Lakeland, Fla., after they discovered $200,000 worth of performance-enhancing drugs in the couple’s home.

After the arrests, the husband, Richard Thomas, told authorities that he had provided the substances to players for the Capitals and the Washington Nationals. Thomas declined to identify those players.

As part of the investigation, the authorities found evidence that Thomas had sold thousands of dollars of performance-enhancing drugs to the chiropractor, Douglas Owen Nagel, 50, of Reston, Va. In an interview with investigators in September, Nagel said that he had bought steroids from Thomas but that they were for his personal use. He said he had treated Capitals players but never provided them with banned substances.

The sheriff, Grady Judd, said he did not believe the drugs were for the chiropractor’s personal use.

“It was entirely too much for one person,” Judd said in a telephone interview. “It was thousands of dollars of steroids. We are now just trying to figure out where all of these steroids were going.”

Nagel, whose office is in the same complex as the Capitals’, was charged with seven counts of distributing illegal drugs and will be prosecuted in Polk County.

Judd said that investigators had no evidence that the hockey or baseball players received substances from the chiropractor or the dealer in Florida. But he said that investigators still had hundreds of pages of documents seized from Thomas’s home to examine.

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