Prominent Miami-Dade baseball coach Lazaro “Lazer” Collazo pleaded not guilty Tuesday to conspiring with the owner of a local anti-aging clinic suspected of illegally selling steroids to high school players.
Collazo, 50, was allowed to surrender rather than be arrested earlier this month along with six others after he had been badly injured while trying to break up a fight between two dogs.
The arrests came one year after more than a dozen Major League ballplayers were suspended in connection with the clinic probe, including Alex Rodriguez — the climax of the biggest doping scandal in baseball history.
Collazo, a former University of Miami relief pitcher, ex-UM assistant baseball coach and one-time Gulliver Prep baseball coach, is accused with other defendants of conspiring with Anthony Bosch, former owner of the Biogenesis of America clinic in Coral Gables, between 2008 and 2013.
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Bosch has already agreed to plead guilty and accused Collazo in court papers of recruiting “many” high school ballplayers who allegedly bought the anabolic steroid, testosterone, from the clinic. The young clients allegedly paid $250 to $600 monthly for performance-enhancing drugs, without any of them being seen by a licensed doctor.
Collazo’s defense attorney, Frank Quintero, said after his client’s arraignment in Miami federal court that Bosch’s recruiting allegation was an “outright lie.”
“The allegation that Lazer recruited high school players is total hogwash,” Quintero told the Miami Herald.
“Lazer referred three parents to Bosch,” Quintero said, adding that two of the teen-agers had weight problems and the third wanted to increase his strength.
He said both Collazo and the parents thought Bosch was a “doctor,” which was not true, and that he operated a legitimate clinic.