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Police raid shady Canadian doc's office, seize meds and list of treated athletes

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Canadian authorities seized patient names and files from the Toronto office of a high-profile sports doctor suspected of distributing human growth hormone before arresting him on drug and smuggling charges, according to a court filing.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police investigators also listed "NFL file folder," ''CFL file folder," a single ampoule of the human growth hormone Nutropin, and dozens of vials of pharmaceuticals marked with Russian and German characters among items taken from Dr. Anthony Galea's Institute of Sports Medicine Health and Wellness Center during an Oct. 15 search.

The lengthy list filed in Provincial Court in Toronto is part of the Canadian case against Galea, a healing specialist sought out by the biggest names in sports until being accused on both sides of the border of dealing in unapproved drugs.

He denies any wrongdoing.

The list of items seized identifies no patients, but specifies that 42 patient medical files were taken, along with a list of patient names, "professional players journal," ''black daytimer with football dates," bank statements, computer equipment and a folder of checks made out to Galea.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello declined comment.

"This is an ongoing federal investigation and we will cooperate fully, but we defer any comment at this time to the federal authorities," Aiello said.

The document obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday, first reported by ESPN.com, also lists 15 ampoules and one nearly empty bottle marked Actovegin, a derivative of calf's blood used to heal injuries. It is not approved for use in the United States.

Canadian authorities in October charged Galea, the former team doctor of the Canadian Football League's Toronto Argonauts, with selling Actovegin, conspiracy to import an unapproved drug, conspiracy to export a drug and smuggling. A May 18 U.S. criminal complaint charged him with conspiracy, smuggling, distributing human growth hormone and introducing an unapproved drug into interstate commerce.

Galea's Toronto attorney, Brian Greenspan, was in court and not immediately available for comment Tuesday. His Buffalo attorney, Mark Mahoney, did not return a telephone message.

In an interview with ESPN on Monday, Mahoney stressed Galea's practice of using homeopathic medications. Galea became widely known for using a blood-spinning technique called platelet-rich plasma therapy designed to speed recovery from injuries.

"He is not using every pharmaceutical opiate and side-effect kind of drugs ... The government loves to let people think we're talking about performance enhancements when they know exactly it has nothing to do with performance enhancement," Mahoney said.

Previously filed documents allege Galea, who is not licensed to practice in the United States, made multiple trips to U.S. cities to meet with professional athletes and injected at least seven with a drug mixture containing human growth hormone. Canadian law enforcement documents based on interviews with a Galea assistant describe meetings with more than 20 professional athletes in New York City, Boston, Tampa Bay, Orlando, San Francisco, San Diego, Washington and Cleveland from July through September of last year.

As Galea's criminal cases move through the courts on both sides of the border, the assistant, whose September arrest set the investigations in motion, is due in federal court in Buffalo later this week.

Mary Anne Catalano was charged in September with smuggling after she was stopped with syringes, human growth hormone and other drugs and equipment at the U.S.-Canada border in Buffalo. She initially said the supplies were for a lecture, but later said Galea had an appointment with a professional football player in Washington, investigators said.

A lesser charge of lying to border officers was filed last month.

A court calendar entry shows a plea set for June 24. Catalano's Toronto attorney, Calvin Berry, has said he expects the case to be resolved then, but neither he nor U.S. Attorney William Hochul would elaborate.