Former Waterloo player pleads guilty to steroid trafficking

KITCHENER - The former University of Waterloo football player at the centre of one of the biggest doping scandals in Canadian sports pleaded guilty Thursday to multiple steroid and break-in charges.

After nearly three years of house arrest, Nathan Zettler admitted to possession of six kinds of steroids for the purpose of trafficking, selling two controlled substances under the Food and Drug Act, and trafficking a substance held out to be a steroid.

The former wide receiver for the Waterloo Warriors also pleaded guilty in Superior Court in Kitchener to four break-ins and one theft in March 2010.

Despite the admissions by Zettler, agreed facts to support his guilty pleas were not entered in court and no formal convictions were registered by the judge.

That means it will be another five months until details of his crimes are made public at his sentencing hearing in June.

"This case is kind of like a slow boat from China, isn't it?" said Justice Patrick Flynn, who was frustrated by the process.

Defence lawyer Steve Gehl said he will argue for a conditional sentence of house arrest.

Numerous other charges were withdrawn by the prosecution or are expected to be dropped when the case returns to court.

Zettler smiled and appeared relaxed before admitting to break-ins to homes on Noecker and Balsam streets in Waterloo, and Strassburg Road in Kitchener. He also admitted breaking into a Canadian Tire store in Kitchener and a theft from another Waterloo home.

The possession for the purpose of trafficking charges related to a three-day period in March 2010 and involved nandrolone, stanozolol, testosterone, trenbolone and metandienone and praterone.

The substances he admitted selling contrary to the Food and Drug Act during the same time period were tamoxifen and clomiphene.

An investigation that followed Zettler's arrest sent shockwaves through Canadian university sports. Nine players from the Waterloo Warriors ultimately tested positive or admitted to using a banned performance-enhancing drugs, and the team's 2010 season was scrapped.

The doping scandal also included the first North American athlete to test positive for human growth hormone.

Zettler has been living with his grandparents in Waterloo on 24-hour restrictions since his arrest, allowed to leave only for work, court and medical appointments.

The former all-star player at Bluevale Collegiate was barred from campus and from contacting his former teammates, and ordered to not have a cell phone, computer or access to other electronic devices.

Zettler's case, plagued by delays, is the last to be dealt with of the four former Warriors caught up in the investigation that ultimately affected the whole team.

Matthew Valeriote, a former wide receiver, was given a year's probation in September 2010 and handed a $200 fine for his part in the string of break-ins that led to the steroid charges against Zettler.

Eric Legare, another former teammate also charged in those break-ins, avoided jail time for his role after pleading guilty in January 2011.

Brandon Krukowski, a former linebacker and one of Zettler's roommates, was acquitted in June 2011 of selling steroids to teammates - a decision that the chief operating officer for the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport called a disappointment.

Zettler, who appeared in court in grey dress pants and a dress shirt, remains free on strict bail terms until his sentencing.

"I would keep my nose clean if I were you," Flynn warned him.

http://www.therecord.com/news/local/article/871073–former-uw-football-player-pleads-guilty-to-steroid-trafficking

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