The sixth man to plead guilty in the Major League Baseball performance-enhancing drugs scandal was described in court Friday as a recruiter of mostly foreign-born players for the now-shuttered South Florida clinic at the center of the case.
Juan Carlos Nuñez, 48, admitted at a hearing that he brought several professional ballplayers, many of them from the Dominican Republic and Venezuela, to Anthony Bosch and his Biogenesis of America anti-aging clinic in Coral Gables. Most of the 14 players suspended by MLB for using steroids last year were from those two countries.
U.S. District Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga read a factual statement signed by Nuñez that described how he used his position at a New York-based sports representation agency, ACES Inc., to connect with players, including arranging for them to buy homes and cars and handling travel.
Eventually that led to meetings beginning in 2010 with Bosch, and injections of testosterone to help the players "feel and play better," the statement said. It is not clear how Nuñez came to know Bosch, who was not a licensed doctor but pretended to be one.
"Nuñez would also provide Bosch with monthly payments on behalf of MLB players," the statement said.
Nuñez pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute less than 1,000 units of testosterone, which carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence. His attorney, Michael Matters, said Nuñez is likely to receive a far less prison term when he is sentenced March 3.
Bosch has also pleaded guilty along with four others. Among the higher-profile Bosch customers was New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez, who has admitted using performance-enhancing drugs supplied by Biogenesis in court documents after repeated public denials.
Rodriguez was suspended for all of last season. Milwaukee Brewers star Ryan Braun, a former University of Miami player, was handed a 65-game suspension, with each of the remaining 12 players serving 50-game suspensions.
Trial is set for April 6 — the same day as the Yankees' 2015 home opener — for Rodriguez cousin Yuri Sucart and ex-University of Miami pitching coach Lazaro Collazo. Both have pleaded not guilty. Rodriguez is expected to testify if Sucart goes to trial.