NPC Bodybuilder and Promoter Tom Burke Pleads Guilty to Steroid Conspiracy Charges
by Millard Baker
NPC Oklahoma bodybuilder and promoter Tom Burke pleaded guilty to a criminal felony steroid conspiracy charge on June 4, 2009 and was granted a deferred sentence of two years probation. Burke’s plea will be expunged without a conviction upon successful completion of the deferred sentence. Burke was one of 6 Oklahoma NPC and IFBB bodybuilders arrested in April 2009 arising out on a two-year steroid investigation targeting Oklahoma bodybuilders.
Tulsa Police interrogated Burke a week prior to his arrest at Symmetry Gym in Tulsa, where he worked as a personal trainer, and allegedly discovered human growth hormone (HGH) and testosterone in his car. Burke was accused of giving anabolic steroids and HGH to bodybuilders at Symmetry Gym to help them prepare for competition according to his arrest warrant. Burke previously competed at the 2007 Branch Warren Classic and helped co-promote the Oklahoma State and Central Classic in previous years.
Agent Brian Surber, of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control (OBNDDC), has suggested there will be further arrests in the ongoing Oklahoma investigation targeting bodybuilders (”Two plead guilty in steroid inquiry,” June 7).
The inquiry steadily became more intensive since it began in December 2007, Surber said, noting that the probe is ongoing and likely will result in more arrests.
“It’s been very difficult for me to estimate when this investigation is going to end,” he said.
Tom Burke was originally charged with “conspiracy to distribute controlled drugs”, “unlawful possession of controlled drug “, and “unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia” by the Tulsa County District Attorney. As part of the plea agreement, the State of Oklahoma agreed to dismiss the steroid possession and steroid paraphernalia charges.
Burke pleaded guilty to a felony conspiracy charge during a court appearance Thursday and was sentenced to two years of probation. Two lesser charges were thrown out in the plea deal, court documents indicate.
The Oklahoma steroid investigation into competitive bodybuilding has resulted in two guilty pleas thus far with court cases pending for four other competitive bodybuilders.
NPC bodybuilder Tom Burke pleaded guilty to State Court criminal FELONY charge of “conspiracy to distribute controlled drugs” and received a deferred sentence of two years probation on June 4, 2009.
NPC bodybuilder Chris Waid pleaded guilty to State Court criminal MISDEMEANOR charges of “unlawful possession of controlled drug” and “unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia” and received deferred sentence of two years probation on May 28, 2009.
NPC bodybuilder Darrell Terrell faces State Court criminal MISDEMEANOR charges of “possession of controlled dangerous drug / testosterone propionate” and “possession of drug paraphernalia”; his court case is pending.
NPC bodybuilder Trudy Ireland-Kline faces State Court criminal MISDEMEANOR charges of “unlawful possession of controlled drug” and “unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia”; her court case is pending.
IFBB pro bodybuilder Sherry Smith faces State Court criminal MISDEMEANOR charges of “possession of controlled dangerous drug / stanozolol” and “possession of drug paraphernalia”; her court case is pending.
IFBB pro bodybuilder Guy Ducasse faces Federal Court five counts “possessing with intent to distribute or distributing a Schedule III controlled substance” and one count “tampering with a witness, victim, or informant”; his court case is pending.
The aggressive targeting of Oklahoma bodybuilding gives all the appearances of a steroid witch-hunt. Excluding the federal case involving Guy Ducasse, most of the competitive bodybuilders prosecuted by the State of Oklahoma will likely avoid jail time and ultimately avoid conviction (upon the successful completion of deferred sentences). The purpose of prosecuting these gainfully-employed and productive members of society is unclear; the wasteful allocation of taxpayer resources accomplishes little more than to inconvenience the lives of these bodybuilders and subject them to the public stigma of steroid use.