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.