The Florida bodybuilder who told authorities that he supplied illegal performance-enhancing drugs to big-league athletes says he got into steroids because he wanted to emulate his hero, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
In an exclusive jailhouse interview with the Daily News, Richard “Andy” Thomas said he was too small to play high school sports, but he was inspired to bulk up with steroids by Schwarzenegger, the bodybuilding champion and action-flick star who is now the governor of California..
“I wanted to be like Arnold,” Thomas said in his first public statements since authorities found $200,000 worth of steroids and other illegal drugs after they raided his Lakeland, Fla., home Tuesday night.
Thomas told detectives from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office after the raid that he was the largest steroid dealer in central Florida and had provided steroids to members of the Washington Nationals and Washington Capitals. He declined to discuss those statements during the interview Thursday at the Polk County jail, but he promised to share details of steroids and sports once he is released.
“Get me out of here and you’ll get a huge story,” Thomas said.
Thomas, dressed in an orange prison uniform, made his first appearance in court Thursday, and Florida Circuit Judge Robert Williams nearly doubled the price set for Thomas’ release, raising his bond for Thomas to $425,000 from $215,000. Thomas, who was at the county jail and appeared in court via video, was represented by a public defender but told Williams he wished to retain his own lawyer even though he has no income.
“My father has money,” Thomas said. “I’ll see if he can help me out.”
Thomas, 35, and his wife, Sandra, 49, were arrested this week after federal agents in Philadelphia intercepted a package containing steroids that had been sent to their Lakeland home from an overseas shipper. Sandra Thomas was released on Wednesday after posting a $215,000 bond.
Both Thomases were charged with 10 counts of possession with intent to distribute, 10 counts of importation, and one count of maintaining a dwelling for drug sales.
Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League opened investigations into the allegations Wednesday, while law enforcement officials made pains to say that they were not in a position to release names of any specific athletes that Thomas may or may not have identified. Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said authorities would have a better idea about Thomas’ clientele after they examine his home computer and review mountains of documents seized from the house.
Read more: "Steroid suspect Richard Thomas juiced to 'be like' Arnold Schwarzenegger" -