Madrid (AFP) — Spanish police arrested a former professional cyclist and three others Wednesday when they broke up a gang producing illegal drugs for doping in sport, officials said.
Officers raided a laboratory in Murcia, in southeastern Spain, and seized 300,000 doses of doping products, a centrifuge for processing blood plasma, and other equipment, a national police statement said.
A police source who asked not be named told AFP separately that the former professional cyclist mentioned in the statement was Jose Luis Martinez Jimenez, who was formerly a rider in Spanish teams such as Jazztel and Comunitat Valenciana.
He retired as in 2006 and worked as a nutritional adviser to other professional riders.
“Officers broke up a group suspected of producing illegal doping substances, steroids, and anabolic substances in order to distribute them” after the suspects brought the ingredients into Spain, the statement said.
Police made two arrests in the Murcia region and one each in Alicante and Elche in eastern Spain. The four were due to go before a judge and face possible public health charges, the police source said.
The raids followed a nine-month investigation during which Spanish police were tipped off by their Swedish counterparts that illegal substances had been sent from Sweden from Murcia.
Monday sees the opening of the Operación Puerto hearings in Madrid. Among the six defendants is Eufemiano Fuentes, 57, a doctor accused of being the head of a blood doping racket uncovered in 2006. Martinez’s name appeared on lists maintained by Fuentes and his Comunitat Valenciana shuttered under the weight of the Puerto investigation.