County police officers investigated in steroid use

February 14, 1993|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff Writer

Seven Anne Arundel County police officers are under investigation for allegedly using steroids provided by a Dundalk doctor who pleaded guilty last week to illegally distributing the drugs to bodybuilders, police said yesterday.

The internal probe began Dec. 9 when the Police Department received a letter from the FBI in Baltimore detailing involvement by the county officers, said Lt. Hank Snow, head of the Inspectional Services Division, which oversees Internal Affairs.

"I can't comment on any specifics," said Lieutenant Snow. "We are just getting into it."

The doctor, George Hebeka, 61, pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore to illegally distributing steroids. He admitted in court to making at least $200,000 by prescribing the steroids to patients for nonmedical purposes.

An undisclosed number of police officers were patients of Dr. Hebeka, the FBI said. Agents refused to name the officers or identify their departments. Between February 1991 and August 1992, the doctor had 250 patients.

Federal authorities said all police departments in the area have been notified. They also said the officers would not face federal charges.

Lieutenant Snow said the Arundel officers have not yet been notified that they are under investigation, which could take several weeks. No one has been suspended.

"We are trying to determine the exact nature and use of the steroids," Lieutenant Snow said yesterday. "We want to see if the use was legitimate or not and to see if there were any violations of our rules."

Lieutenant Snow said that his office knew before December that some county officers may be involved in the prescription ring, but he did not know specifics until the letter from the FBI arrived.

Anabolic steroids are synthetic derivatives of the male hormone testosterone. They are usually prescribed for specific physical conditions, including swelling of the extremities and kidney problems. Body builders and athletes have used them illegally to enhance performance.

Lieutenant Snow said the department's investigation may find that at least some of the officers had legitimate medical reasons for taking the drug. If not, then the officers could face criminal and departmental charges, he said.

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