Ex-pro arrested in dope ring sting in Spain

Spanish police turn up large quantities of doping products after year-long operation

Police in the Spanish city of Murcia have broken up a doping ring that had been both producing and distributing products including plasma, clenbuterol, testosterone and anabolic steroids. Among the four people arrested by police following a year-long investigation was former pro rider José Luis Martínez.

The 33-year-old was a professional between 2001 and 2006, starting out with Jazztel before moving on to Paternina and Comunitat Valenciana. His career was effectively ended when the Comunitat Valenciana team was heavily implicated in Operation Puerto in 2006.

According to reports on the La Sexta Noticias TV network and in El País, the arrests took place in an industrial unit in Murcia. As well as large quantities of doping products, Spanish police also found machinery to manipulate blood and other devices used in the manufacture of some of the medicines seized

The investigation started when police were tipped off about Martínez’s activities at the Vuelta a España, where he worked as a dope control chaperone for the past two years. The role required him to accompany riders selected for drug testing from the moment they finished racing until they had presented themselves at the control point for drug testing. Witnesses informed police that Martínez had been acting suspiciously. Police initiated an investigation and were able to establish that the ring was distributing counterfeit doping products to gyms and weight-training centres.

Back in 2006, Martínez put out a press release insisting that during his three years with Comunitat Valenciana he had had no relationship with Eufemiano Fuentes, the doctor at the centre of the Puerto investigation. El País points out, however, that his name features on a list found among Fuentes’ papers that laid out plans for transfusions to be carried out on 11 riders who had been pre-selected for the 2005 Vuelta. In the end, Martínez was not selected to ride.

Since leaving professional cycling, Martínez has studied nutrition and nursing. According to El País, he has provided former pro colleagues with advice on nutrition.

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