The Special Forces soldier who gave body-building but potentially mood-altering steroids to Staff Sgt. Robert Bales in Afghanistan claimed to Army police that he didn’t know what he had when he handed Bales four bottles of pills after a workout.
The Green Beret from the 7th Special Forces Group gave the pills to Bales in February 2012, about three weeks before Bales slaughtered 16 Afghan civilians in two villages near his combat outpost, according to documents released to The News Tribune.
The unidentified steroid supplier later was punished for possessing the drugs in the combat zone and was kicked out of the Army, Army Special Forces Command spokeswoman Maj. Alison Aguilar said Thursday.
The Army prohibits soldiers from using steroids, but some troops seek out the drugs to gain a physical edge. About 2 percent of soldiers acknowledged using steroids in a 2011 Defense Department survey.
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One of Bales’ teammates in Afghanistan said in court that Bales wanted the drugs to “get jacked.” He had already appeared unstable to junior soldiers by the time he obtained steroids, according to witness statements included in the Army’s investigation into his crimes.
The soldier who provided steroids to Bales said he happened to find the pills on his way to Bales’ outpost in the Panjwai District of Kandahar province.
The soldier, a staff sergeant, said he stumbled upon the pills at his sleeping quarters at a different combat outpost. They were resting on “the back side of my mattress,” he said.
“It did occur to me that the bottles were some type of supplement or steroid,” he acknowledged to the investigator.
The Special Forces soldier met Bales in early 2012. They talked about workout routines. Bales allegedly asked the the soldier if he had any nutritional supplements.
“I mentioned that I have these bottles and I showed them to him,” the Special Forces soldier said.
Bales, according to the Special Forces soldier, recognized that the pills were a steroid and asked to have them. The Special Forces soldier said he did some research on the type of steroid, stanozolol, and concluded it was a mild drug taken for dieting.
The National Institute Drug Abuse says stanozolol is a commonly abused performance-enhancing steroid that can cause mood swings.
The Special Forces soldier told the investigator he realized the drugs might have been an illegal substance when he gave them to Bales, but “I really didn’t think about it.”