Blood Money

Victor Conte became a guru to a roster of sports stars who were desperate to get better. Did he cross the line?

Originally Published: October 24, 2003
By Peter Keating and Shaun Assael | ESPN The Magazine
When the feds want to raid somebody, they start with an advance man, the kind of guy who you'd say was casing a joint if he were working the other side.

The advance man showed up early on the morning of Sept.3 at a sleepy industrial park in Burlingame, Calif. He asked some questions at a toy store, then surveyed the business next door, where the occasional fluttering of a small American flag stuck in a mailbox was the only visible sign of activity. His mission was simple: to leave its occupants no way out when the hammer came down.


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Peter Keating is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine, where he covers investigative and statistical subjects. He started writing "The Biz," a column looking at sports business from the fan's point of view, in 1999. He also coordinates the Magazine's annual "Ultimate Standings" project, which ranks all pro franchises according to how much they give back to fans. His work on concussions in football has earned awards from the Deadline Club, the New York Press Club and the Center for the Study of Sport in Society.
• Senior writer for ESPN The Magazine
• Author of "Wide Open: Days and Nights on the NASCAR Tour"; the New York Times best-selling "Sex, Lies and Headlocks"; and "Steroid Nation"

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