David Jacobs of Plano, Tx., a former Marine, became a self-taught chemist who produced high-grade anabolic steroids that would transform some of his customers into walking billboards for performance-enhancing drugs, the Dallas Morning News reports. That helped him build one of the largest steroid and human growth hormone distribution rings in the nation, and landed him in the middle of one of the largest trafficking investigations of its kind in the nation’s history.
Authorities suspect that Jacobs, 35, and his associates supplied steroids to National Football League players, professional bodybuilders, and police officers. Investigators are pursuing possible links between his network and some of the pharmacies and anti-aging clinics in New York and Florida that serviced professional baseball players and other athletes. Jacobs, who had a top middleman who sold nearly $30,000 worth of steroids a month, is one of seven defendants who have pleaded guilty and await sentencing as early as next month. “David is the kingpin,” said Jason Stern, an attorney who represents bodybuilders and is a former NFL agent. “I think this case could be the NFL’s BALCO,” a reference to the San Francisco case involving high-profile athletes, including Major League Baseball’s Barry Bonds, that still is playing out. The Daily News traces how Jacobs’ business evolved from an incident at the Great Wall of China.