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REPORT: FBI LINKS MCGWIRE TO STEROIDS

The recipe called for a half cc of testosterone cypionate every three days; one cc of testosterone enanthate per week; equipoise and winstrol V, a quarter cc every three days, injected into the buttocks, one in one cheek, one in the other.

It was the cocktail of a hard-core steroids user, and it is one of the "arrays" Mark McGwire used to become the biggest thing in baseball in the 1990s.

Long before Jose Canseco claimed he injected McGwire in the behind in his tell-all autobiography "Juiced," the man known as Big Mac denied ever using illegal steroids. But according to FBI sources, McGwire's name came up several times during "Operation Equine," a landmark anabolic steroids investigation that led to 70 trafficking convictions in the early 1990s. No evidence against McGwire or any other steroid user was collected, and one former agent who worked undercover in the case says McGwire was not a target.

But two dealers caught in Operation Equine told the Daily News that a California man named Curtis Wenzlaff provided Jose Canseco and McGwire, among others, with illegal anabolic steroids. One informant in the case says Wenzlaff injected McGwire at a gym in Southern California on several occasions and established "arrays" of performance-enhancing drugs such as the aforementioned cocktail.

"Curtis was an expert on how to take drugs," one of the informants in the case says. "The West Coast -- that was the Mecca of drugs back then. And Curtis was involved with some serious people. Curtis gave me the same cycle that Mark McGwire (allegedly) was on. The best cycle (of steroids) I ever did came from Curtis."

Reached by the Daily News, a former member of the gym where Wenzlaff and McGwire allegedly worked out together -- Racquetball World in Fountain Valley, Calif. -- said he saw them work out together "maybe five times" and that the two discussed using steroids in his presence.

"No comment," said Wenzlaff when asked to confirm the accounts.

A monthlong review by the Daily News of court documents, FBI records and interviews with sources on both sides of the law found that Operation Equine was a massive warning sign of what was to come in the American sports landscape. Dealers such as Wenzlaff were befriending ballplayers such as Canseco all over the country, and those players were passing on their newfound expertise to friends in the game.

"In hindsight, we could have gotten the big names -- (Michigan State lineman) Tony Mandarich, Canseco -- the problem is, where do you draw the line?" says Bill Randall, who was the FBI undercover agent during Operation Equine. "You have to remember, there was no benchmark, nothing for us to model the investigation on. We wanted to get to the root of the problem."

Representatives for Canseco and McGwire said the former players did not remember meeting Wenzlaff and were not aware their names came up in the FBI's investigation, although an FBI source provided the News with previous telephone numbers for Canseco and McGwire and a pager number for Canseco from Wenzlaff's old phone book.

"We're not going to comment on anything at this time," said Marc Altieri, McGwire's representative. "We believe one should consider the sources of such allegations."

"Jose doesn't want to deny knowing him, but he just doesn't remember the guy," said Robert Saunooke, Canseco's attorney.

However, Wenzlaff's longtime friend Reggie Jackson, who Wenzlaff insists never used steroids or knew he was dealing them, says he saw Wenzlaff and Canseco work out and socialize together.

"Yes, they had spent some time together," says Jackson, who met Wenzlaff after his career ended with the Oakland A's in 1987. "Curt's a good guy that got mixed up in steroids at a very young age. He's a good, solid, stand-up guy and he's honest."

Jackson, who let Wenzlaff stay in his home for long stretches in the late '80s, says he wasn't aware until last year that Wenzlaff had allegedly supplied steroids to Canseco or anyone else.

The two convicted sources who connected Wenzlaff to Canseco and McGwire declined to be named, saying they feared retribution from some of the steroid dealers they informed on.

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