comscore Texas man charged with supplying performance drugs to Olympians | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Sports Breaking | Top News

Texas man charged with supplying performance drugs to Olympians

Honolulu Star-Advertiser logo
Unlimited access to premium stories for as low as $12.95 /mo.
Get It Now
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
                                Blessing Okagbare, of Nigeria raced in a women’s 200-meter heat at the World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar, in September 2019. U.S. prosecutors charged a Texas man, today, with providing performance-enhancing drugs to athletes competing in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, including Okagbare.

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Blessing Okagbare, of Nigeria raced in a women’s 200-meter heat at the World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar, in September 2019. U.S. prosecutors charged a Texas man, today, with providing performance-enhancing drugs to athletes competing in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, including Okagbare.

NEW YORK >> U.S. prosecutors charged a Texas man today with providing performance-enhancing drugs to athletes competing in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, including the star Nigerian sprinter Blessing Okagbare.

Eric Lira, 41, of El Paso, is the first person to be charged under a new U.S. anti-doping law governing international sports competitions.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan said Lira distributed the drugs, including human growth hormone, “for the purpose of corrupting” the 2020 Games. Lira also is accused of conspiring to violate drug misbranding and adulteration laws. It was not immediately clear whether he had an attorney who could comment on the charges.

The criminal complaint does not name Okagbare, but includes details suggesting she was among Lira’s clients. A text message was sent to Okagbare seeking comment.

Okagbare had been provisionally suspended for testing positive for human growth hormone in July 2021, just hours before the former world championships silver medalist was due to run in the semifinals of the women’s 100 meters at the Olympics. She tested positive for the drug in an out-of-competition test.

A criminal complaint unsealed in Manhattan federal court alleges that Lira, a kinesiologist and naturopathic doctor, brought “misbranded” versions of the drugs to the United States from Central and South America before distributing them to athletes.

Authorities searched Okagbare’s cellphone as she was returning to the United States and found she had been communicating with Lira over using an encrypted app, according to the complaint.

Comments (0)

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines.

Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

Be the first to know
Get web push notifications from Star-Advertiser when the next breaking story happens — it's FREE! You just need a supported web browser.
Subscribe for this feature

Scroll Up