SAN CARLOS -- Victor Conte was feeling good the day his life changed forever.
Ten years ago Tuesday everything had been going swimmingly for the BALCO Laboratories supplement maker and his stable of world-class competitors.
Conte's sleep enhancer ZMA was gaining traction in the competitive marketplace and his reputation was growing in a secret world of sports where he was helping famous athletes such as Barry Bonds and Marion Jones reach chest-pounding performances with a regimen of illegal drug use.
Then it came crashing to a halt as federal agents backed by San Mateo County Sheriff deputies raided BALCO, located just south of San Francisco International Airport. The raid yielded a treasure trove of documents that launched what at the time was the biggest sports drug scandal in U.S. history.
Reputations of celebrated athletes were sullied along with the sports of baseball and track and field. Congressional hearings were held, Olympic medals returned and asterisks were assigned to Bond's home run records for a single season (73) and career (762).
In a plea deal, Conte served four months in federal prison, while other co-conspirators got shorter sentences or probation. About 30 athletes in baseball, football and track and field were connected to Conte and BALCO.
Ten years after not much has changed in sport. And everything has changed with the BALCO mastermind.
The Internal Revenue Service agent who led the raid that day, Jeff Novitzky, now works for the Drug Enforcement Agency. The lean, former San Jose State basketball player is America's top cop on the sports and drug beat; the man who helped investigate Lance Armstrong before the famed cyclist's downfall this year.
Conte, a one-time Tower of Power bass player who transformed himself into a self-taught nutritionist, continues to sell legal supplements in what he describes as a booming business. He also has become an outspoken critic of the use of illegal drugs, the very same substances he created to subvert the system.
In a Shakespearean twist of fate, the man who led the BALCO raid and the man who was caught now share the goal of clean sport.
"Once the raid came and once I realized what a bad choice I made, the question was what do you do with this knowledge you have," Conte said last week. "In my own way it was restitution. I feel the whole experience on the dark side gave me the unique qualification to join the collective effort."
Not that he has been embraced by everyone. Conte, 63, has gravitated to boxing and mixed martial arts fighting, spheres more accepting of colorful characters with questionable pasts.
"Boxing is the red light district of sports," Conte said at Undisputed Boxing Gym in San Carlos. "It's the only place that will have me."
Conte's name is rarely far from the news whenever a sports drug scandal surfaces. Last month, the San Mateo man was featured prominently when revealing that disgraced All-Star Alex Rodriguez met with him secretly at his San Carlos office to discuss legal supplements.
The disclosure set off a media storm because Rodriguez is one of the biggest names connected to a Miami anti-aging clinic that has been under scrutiny this year in what amounts to BALCO II.
Conte also made news last month in the Caribbean after criticizing Jamaican drug-testers for not being transparent in monitoring the country's famed sprinters, including the unconquerable Usain Bolt.
Conte plans to continue using the bully pulpit to prod baseball, football and World Anti-Doping Agency officials to do more to slow the use of performance-enhancing drugs that he says remains widespread in professional and Olympic competitions.
"I'm a fighter," he said. "I'm the punch first, ask questions later guy, and if hit the wrong guy I pick him up and pay his doctor bill."
To wit: Conte has fought off defamation suits from boxer Shane Mosley and Marion Jones by refusing to back away from claims he told the truth about their drug use.
The energetic Conte also runs a substantial legal supplement business called Scientific Nutrition for Advanced Conditioning (SNAC). He said 200,000 bottles alone of his over-the-counter ZMA are sold each month under various product labels.
Just as he hit the 10th anniversary of the BALCO raid Conte introduced a new product for pre-training. He also is expanding the retail side of his business.
The only "juice" he serves now, he says, is Crystal Light drink mix that provides taste to some of his trace mineral-based concoctions.
Conte works with a half dozen boxers, including two-time world champion Amir Khan, who will join the stable in the coming weeks, he said.
Conte has enlisted Remi Korchemny, the BALCO sprint coach, to help train the boxers. Korchemny, of Castro Valley, received a year's probation for his role in the BALCO case. He also became the first coach to be disciplined by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.
However, Conte has little contact with trainer Greg Anderson, who spent more than a year in jail after being found in contempt of court for refusing to testify in front of a federal grand jury investigating Bonds.
Does it feel like it has come full circle after a decade in the media glare?
"I don't know if it has because I feel like there is so much more to do," Conte said.
Contact Elliott Almond at 408-920-5865 and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/elliottalmond.