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Canadian drug doctor to sports stars avoids jail time

Dr. Anthony Galea, center, arrives at federal court for sentencing in Buffalo, N.Y., on Friday. Galea, a Canadian sports doctor, was indicted in October on charges he smuggled in human growth hormones and other substances and lied to border agents to avoid getting caught. Galea is accused of treating 20 professional athletes at their homes, hotels and friends' houses from October 2007 to September 2009. After pleading guilty to bringing unapproved and mislabeled drugs into the United States, Galea avoided jail time.

Dr. Anthony Galea, center, arrives at federal court for sentencing in Buffalo, N.Y., on Friday. Galea, a Canadian sports doctor, was indicted in October on charges he smuggled in human growth hormones and other substances and lied to border agents to avoid getting caught. Galea is accused of treating 20 professional athletes at their homes, hotels and friends' houses from October 2007 to September 2009. After pleading guilty to bringing unapproved and mislabeled drugs into the United States, Galea avoided jail time.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — A Canadian sports doctor with a high-profile client list will avoid prison time for bringing unapproved and mislabeled drugs into the United States.

Dr. Anthony Galea, of Toronto, was sentenced to time served Friday in U.S. District Court in Buffalo. The healing specialist, who has helped Tiger Woods and other big-name athletes come back from injuries, pleaded guilty to the federal charge in July.

Speaking in a courtroom full of supporters, Galea apologized to the U.S. government, his wife and his assistant for the trouble he caused them. The judge said any good that could come of sentencing him to prison would be outweighed by the good he can do his patients.

Galea wasn’t licensed to practice in the United States when he made trips across the border to treat athletes including professional football and baseball players in several U.S. cities. Galea was widely known for a blood-spinning injury treatment, but prosecutors said some patients received human growth hormone, which is banned by major sports.

During his plea hearing in July, prosecutors said Galea’s patients included NFL linebacker Takeo Spikes and retired running back Jamal Lewis, who were not accused of any use of performance-enhancing drugs.

The New York Mets’ Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran also acknowledged talking to federal authorities during the investigation, but said they did not receive HGH. Woods acknowledged being treated by Galea but also said he hadn’t received performance enhancers.

Athletes often sought out Galea for platelet-rich plasma therapy, a treatment used to speed healing that involves extracting blood from patients and re-injecting just the plasma.

Galea became the focus of Canadian and U.S. authorities’ attention in September 2009, when his assistant, Mary Anne Catalano, was stopped at the border in Buffalo with a small quantity of human growth hormone, Actovegin and vials of foreign homeopathic drugs.

It wasn’t immediately known how much time Galea has already spent in custody. A year of supervised release included in the sentence won’t be enforced because he lives in Canada.