Texas-based naturopathic and kinesiologist doctor is facing criminal charges after distributing multiple performance-enhancing drugs to at least two athletes at the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo, federal prosecutors in New York said.

Eric Lira is the first individual to face prosecution under the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act, signed into law in 2020, which prohibits any person, other than an athlete, from deliberately influencing any major global sports competition through the use of prohibited substances.

Performance-Enhancing Drugs for Olympic Athletes

According to the US Attorney's Office in Manhattan, the drugs, including human growth hormone and a blood-building hormone, erythropoietin, were supplied "in advance of and for the purpose of corrupting the 2020 Olympic Games."

Misbranded prescriptions were used to make the performance-enhancing medications, which were sourced from Central and South America. They were later supplied in the United States by Lira.

The 41-year-old is also accused of communicating with two anonymous Olympic athletes, only designated as 'Athlete-1' and 'Athlete-2', over an encrypted internet platform, where they discussed the drug's ability to be detected in drug tests, shipment, and effectiveness.

The criminal complaint identifies Blessing Okagbare only as "Athlete 1," but it contains data, such as her race results, that proves she was one of Lira's clients.

The Nigerian track and field athlete was notified through text message seeking comment.

According to the complaint, federal officials searched Okagbare's cellphone when she was flying back to the United States from Tokyo and discovered she had been communicating with Lira using an encrypted app on a regular basis.

Okagbare wrote to Lira in one message, "Do you think it's okay to take a test this morning?" according to the lawsuit. In another message, Okagbare wrote that she had just completed the 100m in 10.63 seconds.

According to investigators, the athlete allegedly wrote to Lira several weeks before the Tokyo Olympics, saying that their body felt "so amazing" and they felt "so happy."

The sprinter wrote on the platform, "Whatever you made is working so beautifully."

Lira allegedly replied to Okagbare that she is ready to dominate.

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Nigerian Sprinter Suspended

Okagbare has been temporarily suspended after testing positive for human growth hormone in an out-of-competition test in July 2021, only hours before she was scheduled to compete in the women's 100 meters quarterfinals at the Olympics. The suspension was revealed in a criminal complaint filed in federal court in Manhattan on Wednesday.

In June, Okagbare also tested positive for a blood booster in Nigeria, according to the Athletics Integrity Unit. According to the AIU, she was charged with failing to comply with the investigation after she defied an order to produce "documents, records, and electronic storage devices" in connection with the other counts.

The doctor faces criminal charges that could result in a maximum sentence of ten years in prison. According to the Department of Justice in Texas, Lira is also accused of conspiring to violate drug misbranding and adulteration regulations, which carries a five-year prison penalty.

Lira was apprehended by federal authorities and is scheduled to appear in court in the Western District of Texas on Wednesday.

He remains detained.

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This article is owned by Latin Post.

Written by: Jess Smith

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