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GetSmart About Drugs - A DEA Resource for Parents

News Release [print-friendly page]
Number: 202-307-7977
November 3, 2005

Pete Rose Jr. Arrested, Pleads Guilty to Drug Trafficking Charges
Son of baseball’s all-time hits leader admits
selling GBL to pro players

(Nashville, TN) - Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) officials announced that Pete Rose Jr., the son of Major League Baseball’s all-time hits leader, was arrested and plead guilty this morning to conspiracy to distribute Gamma-butyrolactone (GBL), a controlled analogue of Gamma-Hydroxybutyric Acid (GHB).

Rose faces a maximum of 20 years in prison for his role in distributing GBL.  His arrest is part of a larger DEA-led investigation into a major GBL trafficking organization.

“GBL is a substance that was never intended for human consumption because it can cause significant health problems including seizures and possibly even death,” said Sherri Strange, DEA Special Agent-in Charge, Atlanta. “It continues to be sold to unsuspecting individuals who believe the drug will build muscles and improve physical performance.  Hopefully this arrest will continue to shed light on how potentially damaging this controlled substance can be.”  

Rose’s involvement with the drug became known to DEA officials during a six-year investigation that began in 1999 and included one of the largest seizures of GBL in U.S. history.  In January, 2004, DEA agents seized approximately 280 gallons of GBL from a storage unit in Murfreesboro, TN.  Further investigation of the seizure revealed that Murfreesboro resident Bruce Michael Wayne was a nationwide distributor of GBL. Wayne was arrested by DEA agents in January, 2004 and plead guilty to conspiracy to distribute GBL and money laundering charges.  However, Wayne failed to appear for sentencing and is currently a fugitive.

The investigation into Wayne’s dealings with GBL revealed that Rose received shipments of the drug while playing baseball for the Chattanooga Lookouts, the double-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds.

Rose was confronted by authorities in June 2005 while a member of the Long Island Ducks baseball team.  According to details released in the plea hearing, Rose confessed to receiving GBL from an individual in Tennessee while a member of the Lookouts.  Rose also admitted to supplying players on that team with the drug.  According to Rose, teammates would take GBL to “wind down” after games.

GBL is an industrial solvent commonly used for degreasing engines and stripping wood in bowling alleys and gym floors. When taken orally, GBL is converted in the body to GHB.  GBL is also a precursor ingredient and component in the manufacture of GHB, which is a potent drug that has been promoted as a sleep aid, a sexual stimulant, and a steroid alternative. GHB is widely abused as a recreational drug, given its ability to intoxicate or cause a trance-like state when consumed in larger doses. 

Other agencies assisting in the investigation include: The United States Attorneys Office for the Middle District of Tennessee in Nashville, Internal Revenue Service, Food and Drug Administration, the Pinellas County (FL) Sheriff’s Department, the Murfreesboro Police Department, the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Department, the 18th and 21st Judicial Drug Task Force, the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department, the Lewisberg Police Department, the Lebanon Police Department, and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.


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