Jan 12, 2022 - Politics & Policy

DOJ charges man for allegedly distributing performance-enhancing drugs to Olympians

Photo: Samuel Corum/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Department of Justice has charged a Texas man with distributing performance-enhancing drugs to athletes ahead of the delayed 2020 Olympic Games, according to a criminal complaint unsealed Wednesday.

Why it matters: It's the first criminal charge brought under an anti-doping law that went into effect last December, according to the DOJ.

Details: The complaint alleges that Eric Lira, a "kinesiologist and naturopathic" therapist in El Paso, Texas, distributed PEDs to at least two athletes ahead of the delayed 2020 Games, held last year in Tokyo.

  • Lira allegedly sourced PEDs such as human growth hormone and erythropoietin, known as a "blood building" drug, from Central and South America.
  • According to prosecutors, in July, one recipient of Lira's PEDs tested positive for human growth hormone and subsequently was "provisionally suspended" from the competition.
  • Lira is in custody and scheduled in court Wednesday, per the DOJ. A lawyer for Lira was not immediately identifiable.

Context: Lira is charged under the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act, which bans involvement in doping schemes at major international sports competitions.

  • He faces a maximum prison sentence of 15 years for two charges.

What they're saying: "Today, this Office sends a strong message to those who would taint the Games and seek to profit from that corruption,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said according to the press release.

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