A five-count indictment handed down by a Buffalo federal grand jury Thursday night says the Canadian sports medicine guru linked to Tiger Woods, Alex Rodriguez, Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes and other athletes smuggled banned substances into the United States and lied to border agents to avoid prosecution.
The charges in the indictment, similar to those in a criminal complaint filed by prosecutors in May, set Anthony Galea on the path to a trial.
The Toronto physician is not licensed to work in the United States, but the indictment says Galea treated 20 professional athletes in private homes and hotels in this country from October 2007 to September 2009 – and even gave them free Viagra when they requested it.
The indictment does not name the athletes but their identities could be revealed as the case moves toward trial.
Galea, the former team doctor for the Canadian Football League Toronto Argonauts, made 100 trips to treat athletes in New York and in a dozen other cities from Florida to Hawaii, billing them more than $500,000, according to the indictment.
The American investigation began in September 2009, when U.S. authorities searched a Nissan Rogue driven by Galea’s assistant Mary Anne Catalano at the Peace Bridge border crossing in Buffalo. The agents found Actovegin, a derivative of calves’ blood that is illegal in the U.S. and not approved for use in Canada, as well as human growth hormone, homeopathic drugs and medical equipment.
Catalano pleaded guilty earlier this year to one count of lying to agents. She was expected to be sentenced this week, but that has been postponed until January. Her Toronto attorney, Calvin Barry, has said she is cooperating with authorities.
Florida officials are also investigating whether Galea, who flew to Woods’ Windermere, Fla., home last year, practiced medicine in that state without a license.
Galea works closely with Mark Lindsay, the Canadian chiropractor who managed Rodriguez’s rehabilitation after hip surgery last year. BALCO founder Victor Conte told the Daily News last year that Lindsay was part of a group called “Project World Record” that worked to make Tim Montgomery the fastest man in the world. Lindsay has treated former NFL star Bill Romanowski and sprinters Marion Jones and Montgomery. All three athletes testified before the BALCO grand jury.
Galea, who also faces drug-related charges in Canada, is known for treating athletes with a legal procedure called platelet-rich plasma therapy or “blood-spinning,” in which blood is drawn and spun in a centrifuge, then reinjected in an attempt to heal injuries. Galea has acknowledged that he uses HGH personally and says it can improve the quality of life for older people, but he has denied providing athletes with banned drugs. The government claims that Galea injected athletes with human growth hormone, which is banned by pro sports leagues and permitted for just a handful of uses in this country.
Beltran and Reyes have acknowledged talking to federal authorities about Galea, who has denied any wrongdoing. Rodriguez told Major League Baseball officials that he didn’t receive performance-enhancing drugs from Galea.
Galea could spend up to 20 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charge in the indictment, smuggling. An arraignment has not been scheduled.