BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — A sports doctor facing drug charges on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border made multiple trips to U.S. cities to meet with professional athletes and injected at least seven with human growth hormone, according to Canadian court documents.
The search warrant and a supporting information filed by Canadian law enforcement in their case against Dr. Anthony Galea describe meetings with more than 20 professional athletes in New York City, Boston, Tampa Bay, Orlando, San Francisco, San Diego, Washington and Cleveland from July through September of last year.
Athletes, identified only by letters of the alphabet, would receive “HGH cocktail” injections in their knees, intravenous vitamin drips and injections of the unapproved drug Actovegin, according to the documents.
On one day last August, Galea treated four athletes in Cleveland alone, providing two with the HGH injections and one with vitamins, the documents say. Treatment for the fourth athlete was not specified in the documents, which were based on interviews with a Galea assistant.
Galea, a 50-year-old Canadian, is not licensed to practice in the United States. He was charged in a criminal complaint in Buffalo on Tuesday with conspiracy, smuggling, distributing human growth hormone and introducing an unapproved drug into interstate commerce.
He was charged with similar counts in Canada last October following a search of his Institute of Sports Medicine Health and Wellness Center in Toronto.
The U.S. complaint alleges Galea provided a retired National Football League player with HGH after his career had ended and treated a current player with Actovegin, a derivative of calf’s blood used to heal injuries which is not approved for use in the United States.
Galea’s attorney, Brian Greenspan, on Tuesday called the U.S. complaint disappointing and said the doctor would respond “at the appropriate time.”
Galea could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted on the U.S. charges.
On Wednesday, World Anti-Doping Agency President John Fahey, while declining comment on the ongoing investigation, commended U.S. authorities for looking into those who work with athletes.
“Members of athletes’ entourage, including coaches, trainers, medical doctors, scientists, sports administrators and others have a professional and moral responsibility to the athletes under their charge,” Fahey said in a statement.
Galea, a former doctor for the Canadian Football League’s Toronto Argonauts, fell under suspicion last September when his assistant, Mary Anne Catalano, was stopped at the U.S.-Canada border in Buffalo and told authorities she was transporting medical supplies for Galea. She initially said the supplies were for a lecture but later said Galea had an appointment with a professional football player in Washington.
Catalano, who initially was charged in a criminal complaint with smuggling, was charged Tuesday with lying to border agents.
In interviews with investigators, Catalano said she made 23 border crossings for Galea in the six months before her arrest, each time bringing human growth hormone and other drugs, 111 syringes, a centrifuge and ultrasound computer, according to the Canadian court documents obtained by The Associated Press. They were first posted on ESPN.com.
“Catalano advised U.S. (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) that Galea mainly performed two procedures on athletes,” the documents said, “one being a cocktail mixture injection that contained numerous medicines including a drug called Nutropin … Catalano was witness to at least seven athletes receiving this injection from Galea while in the U.S., as well as one in Canada.”
Nutropin is a human growth hormone and banned by major sports. The other procedure was a blood-spinning treatment believed to speed healing.
Galea’s most frequent destination last summer was New York City, which he visited five times. He was in Cleveland four times and Boston three times, according to the Canadian documents.
A court hearing for Galea on the Canadian charges is scheduled for June 3. No date was set on the U.S. charges.