through: JIM MUSTIAN, Associate Press
NEW YORK (AP) – U.S. prosecutors on Wednesday indicted a Texas man for providing performance-enhancing drugs to athletes competing in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, including Nigerian sprinter star Blessing Okagbare.
Eric Lira, 41, of El Paso, is the first person to be charged under a new US anti-doping law governing international sports competitions.
The US attorney’s office in Manhattan said Lira distributed the drugs, including human growth hormone, “for the purpose of corrupting” the 2020 Games. Lira is also accused of conspiring to violate the lawsuits. drug labeling and adulteration laws. It was not immediately clear whether he had a lawyer who could comment on the charges.
The criminal complaint does not name Okagbare, but includes details suggesting that she was one of Lira’s clients. A text message was sent to Okagbare to solicit comments.
Okagbare was provisionally suspended for testing positive for human growth hormone in July 2021, just hours before the former world championship silver medalist qualified for the semi-finals of the women’s 100 meters at the Olympic Games. She tested positive for the drug in an out-of-competition test.
Unsealed criminal complaint in Manhattan federal court alleges Lira, a kinesiologist and naturopathic physician, brought “mislabeled” versions of drugs from Central and South America to the United States before distributing them to athletes .
Authorities searched Okagbare’s cell phone as she returned to the United States and discovered that she had communicated with Lira through an encrypted application, according to the complaint.