Steroid Source for Elite and Olympic Athletes Busted in Spain
Steroid Source for Elite and Olympic Athletes Busted in Spain by Millard Baker ~ source
A joint operation between Mossos d’Esquadra and Spain’s Policia Nacional has resulted in the arrest of ten members of a doping ring that allegedly provided anabolic steroids, human growth hormone, EPO, CERA and other performance-enhancing drug (PEDs) to top amateur, professional and Olympic athletes. The steroid investigation was codenamed Operación Skype. The doping ring was headquartered in Barcelona.
Operación Skype originated with professional cyclist David Garcia Dapena of the Xacobeo Galicia team. Garcia tested positive for erythropoietin (EPO) after finishing a stage of the 2010 Vuelta a España in the Catalonian city of Vilanova i la Geltrú. Garcia also tested positive for hydroxyethyl starch. Hydroxyethyl starch is used as a blood plasma volume expander to mask elevated hematocrit levels that result from the use of EPO.
Garcia cooperated with the police and told them that he had been purchasing performance-enhancing drugs from Dr. Alberto Beltran Nino.
Beltran, a former Liberty Seguros team doctor, was found to be the ringleader of a sophisticated doping organization that provided steroids and PEDs to several track, cycling and other athletes who had competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the 2010 Vuelta a España, the 2009 Tour du Portugal and the 2012 Spanish Athletics Championships.
Beltran has been suspected for over a decade of providing athletes with PEDs and helping them avoid detection for doping. In 2001, Beltran was arrested in Italy when he was the team doctor for the Selle Italia team after he was caught with a car full of doping products.
Cyclist Nuno Ribeiro accused the doctor of injecting him with performance-enhancing drugs after he tested positive for CERA at the 2009 Tour du Portugal.
Middle distance runner Jose Luis Blanco has reportedly assisted in the investigtion against Beltran after the runner tested positive for EPO at the 2012 Spanish Athletics Championships.
Beltran emigrated to Bahrain in 2009. He has not had any direct contact with any athletes since that time. However, police allege that he set up a team of intermediaries in Spain, Morocco and Columbia to procure steroids, hGH and EPO and provide them to elite athletes.
The Mossos d’Esquadra and the Policia Nacional found an opportunity to detain Beltran recently when he was traveling through Spain and attempted to board a flight to Columbia at the Barajas International Airport in Madrid on March 5, 2012.
Beltran was arrested in possession of AICAR and TB-500. While the World Anti-Doping Agency has not reported a single positive tested associated with these two drugs, endurance athletes have been thought to experiment with AICAR and TB-500.