Authorities dismantle doping ring across Spain
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Spanish authorities say two people are arrested and six more were investigated after they’ve broken up a ring to distribute products banned in Spain.
Spain’s Guardia Civil and its Unidad Central Operativa (UCO) led the investigation, media reports indicate. Investigations began in 2021, officials said Thursday.
Sources close to EFE reveal that the investigation centers around a university professor and doctor in the Spanish city of Cáceres identified as Marcos Maynar, who was arrested in May for illegal drug trafficking, EFE reported.
The Spanish wire service EFE reported Thursday that ex-Kelme team manager Vicente Belda and his son, also an ex-pro, were questioned about a ring that authorities say they’ve dismantled for the “distribution of prohibited products” to athletes, the Spanish daily El Mundo reported.
Colombian pro Miguel Ángel López, who currently races with Astana Qazaqstan, released a statement Thursday saying he is not linked to the investigation.
López, who was held by Spanish authorities upon his return to Europe this summer, said Thursday that media reports suggesting he is linked to any sort of illicit activity are “completely false.”
“Currently I do not have any active investigation process and my lawyers would initiate the corresponding legal actions if necessary,” López said.
Police said eight individuals were investigated as part of the operation dubbed “Ilex” by Spanish authorities.
EFE reported that chemicals were mixed with nutritional products to make prohibited drugs, including one product called Menotropin, used in the treatment of fertility disturbances, as well as Actovegin, DCA, and Teofilina.
Police said athletes were charged up to 3,000 euros for the services among “high-level athletes,” and some of the identified clients were minors.
Authorities also described how communication and distribution were separated between the source and the user to try to throw off law enforcement agencies.
La UCO de la Guardia Civil desarticula una red de dopaje en la denominada Operación Ilex https://t.co/Fzsu9oWkrr
— Telemadrid (@telemadrid) November 24, 2022
EFE reported that individuals mixed “nutritional supplements with drugs and substances prohibited in sports … to make the ‘cocktail’” ahead of competition.
Authorities also identified ex-cyclist Ángel Vázquez Iglesias as one of those involved in the investigation. Police say Vázquez Iglesias recruited young athletes to send them for treatment.
The investigation remains open, EFE reported Thursday, with alleged activities in Portugal and Spain.