NPC Texas Chairman and IFBB Judge Lee Thompson was indicted on anabolic steroid conspiracy charges by a federal grand jury on April 30, 2009 in United States District Court for the South District of Texas. Court documents confirm the rumors that Timothy Lee Thompson aka Lee Thompson was one of the individuals facing federal charges in the Operation Farmacia de Juicy Phruit drug bust led by the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Department and the DEA. Lee Thompson was charged with one count of “conspiracy to manufacture and possess with the intent to distribute a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of anabolic steroids, a Schedule III controlled substance (21 USC 841(a)(1); 841(b)(1)(D); and 846)”. * He has pleaded not guilty to the charges and requested a jury trial.
Lee Thompson, the owner of One-2-One Training Centers in the Houston area, was previously publicly identified only as the “gym owner” arrested in the steroid bust. His identity was “unsealed” following his arrest. Lee Thompson is one of 22 co-defendants named along with Charles Brock Falkenhagen, the primary suspect in the investigation, in a superseding federal indictment. The superseding indictment included 46 counts involving the distribution of anabolic steroids, human growth hormone, hydrocodone, MDMA and money laundering. It is important to note that Thompson ONLY faces a single steroid conspiracy charge while Falkenhagen was named on each of the 46 counts.
Thompson was the third person arrested in the federal case; he appeared in court and was released on $50,000 unsecured bond the day prior to the highly-publicized execution of several dozen state and federal arrest warrants in steroid raids in the Houston area on May 27, 2009. Brock Falkenhagen and Richard Troy Daniell Jr. were arrested the previous week on May 20, 2009.
Lee Thompson’s indictment regardless of his guilt or innocence, is troubling news for competitive bodybuilding organizations including NPC Texas, NPC and the IFBB given his high-profile position within the organizations. The National Physique Committee (NPC) and International Federation of BodyBuilders (IFBB) may have hoped to have this information suppressed in their own self-interest. However, full disclosure is clearly in the best interests of personal trainers, fitness professionals, gym owners, contest promoters and others involved in the network of competitive bodybuilding . After all, they are most likely to be affected by the increasing attention by law enforcement to steroids in bodybuilding (especially in Texas).
The immediate concern for the NPC and IFBB is the impact that Thompson’s legal problems will have on his promotion of the NPC Texas State Naturals Bodybuilding Championship (Jul. 18), NPC Texas State Bodybuilding Championships (Oct. 24) and IFBB Houston Pro Fitness/Figure/Bikini contest (Aug. 29). Thompson’s legal issues could also potentially bring increased attention by law enforcement upon the bodybuilders competing at these contests especially since the aforementioned contests are all held in Fort Bend County.
Recent steroid investigations in Oklahoma and Texas have shown that local law enforcement, with the cooperation of the DEA and other federal agencies, is willing to infiltrate loosely organized networks of competitive bodybuilders and prosecute bodybuilders for what amounts to little more than mere steroid possession. At present, the Operation Farmacia de Juicy Phruit steroid investigation reveals that state and federal law enforcement agencies are also engaged in targeting gym owners, personal trainers and their clients on steroid conspiracy and steroid possession charges. Gym owners and personal trainers who are asked by clients to “hook them up” with a local gym sources could open themselves up to conspiracy charges even though they have no direct involvement in the steroid dealing; this type of assistance is not uncommon in the bodybuilding community. Given the widespread use of anabolic steroids in competitive bodybuilding, gym owners and personal trainers that cater to this demographic may be at greater risk of scrutiny.
The single charge against Lee Thompson arises from his relationship with Brock Falkenhagen. It appears that Thompson had legitimate business relationships with Falkenhagen that may have involved the Smoothie Factory franchise(s) located in Sugar Land, Texas. The nature of the business relationship is unclear at this point. Some sources suggest that Thompson owned the franchises and Falkenhagen was simply employed by Thompson. It appears more likely that Falkenhagen and his wife were the owners although Thompson may have been an investor. The Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce identifies Brock Falkenhagen as the owner and Falkenhagen’s wife has identified herself as the owner on her MySpace page. Thompson appeared along with the Falkenhagen couple at the grand opening of the Smoothie Factory in Sugar Land.
Lee Thompson’s relationship with Falkenhagen along with his high-profile involvement with NPC and IFBB bodybuilding appear to have made him vulnerable to investigation. Investigators may have targeted Thompson as the possible nexus between Brock Falkenhagen (steroid supply) and the competitive bodybuilding/commercial gyms (steroid demand). But the nature and strength of the evidence acquired to support the government’s theory of conspiracy in the case of Lee Thompson has not been made public.
Lee Thompson faces a penalty of “not more than twenty years imprisonment; and a fine not more than $250,000; and not more than two years supervised release; $100 special assessment.” He has retained local attorney Christopher Downey to represent him at trial. Jury selection and trial is set for July 21, 2009.
* Criminal complaints and indictments by a grand jury are accusatory in nature and should not be considered a determination of guilt. All defendants are considered innocent until proven otherwise in a court of law.
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