Federal law enforcement officials have alerted a number of world-class athletes to expect grand jury subpoenas in the case against Canadian physician
While it is unclear which athletes and how many will be subpoenaed, it is an indication that the multi-agency, federal investigation of Galea is progressing. According to a December story in
Galea, who is based in Toronto, faces charges in his native Canada of conspiring to smuggle human growth hormone (HGH) and the drug Actovegin into the U.S., conspiracy to smuggle prohibited goods into Canada, unlawfully selling Actovegin, and smuggling goods into Canada in violation of the Customs Act. The doctor's client list is elite; it includes
The federal investigation of Galea began Sept. 14, when border guards stopped Galea's assistant,
HGH is legal in Canada but tightly regulated in the U.S., where it is approved for the treatment of AIDS and for people with a growth-hormone deficiency. The drug has become popular, however, with athletes who use it to recover more quickly from injury and to improve stamina. U.S. law prohibits this use and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) classifies HGH as a performance-enhancing drug. Galea has said that the HGH was for his personal use. Actovegin is prohibited for medical use in the U.S. and its uses in Canada are limited. Bringing either drug into the U.S. is illegal.
HGH is banned by Major League Baseball and by the NFL, but neither league tests for it. The substance is undetectable in urine tests and many U.S. professional leagues have questioned the accuracy and invasiveness of the blood test used to detect the substance. Last week, British rugby player
According to the criminal complaint against her, Catalano told authorities that Galea asked her to smuggle the drugs into the U.S. because, she said, he had had difficulty transporting them in the past. Catalano told investigators that Galea instructed her to say the supplies were for a medical conference and not for patient use.
One month after federal investigators stopped Catalano at the border, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police raided Galea's Institute of Sports Medicine and Wellness Centre in Toronto and arrested him. The Florida Department of Health also launched its own investigation because Galea had flown to the state on four occasions last winter to treat Woods, who was recovering from knee surgery. At a news conference last week, Woods denied use of performance-enhancing drugs.
Galea is not licensed to practice medicine in the U.S. Jamal Lewis told SI.com that Galea has helped keep him healthy in recent years with PRP therapy, but said Galea told him he was aware that he was not supposed to treat patients in the U.S., so Lewis, like other athletes, flew to Canada for treatment.
Spokesmen for the FBI and ICE declined comment on the case, citing an ongoing investigation. Voicemail and e-mail messages left late Friday afternoon for an FDA spokeswoman in Buffalo were not immediately returned.