Spanish courts initiate criminal doping investigation of Armstrong's US Postal team

Lance Armstrong and the US Postal Service team

Lance Armstrong and the US Postal Service team (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

After the Operacion Puerto verdict in the doping case of Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes was announced earlier this week, the Spanish courts were confirmed to have opened a criminal investigation into doping which is following up on the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) investigation and 2012 report detailing the doping of Lance Armstrong and his teammates.

According to The Guardian, a magistrate in Spain's Alicante province, initiated a criminal investigation. Some of the happenings in USADA's report occurred in Alicante, where Lance Armstrong's US Postal team sometimes trained in 2001.

Ana Muñoz, head of the national anti-doping agency in Spain, told The Guardian, "Both the investigating magistrate and a prosecutor agree with the agency that there is evidence that a crime may have been committed."

The investigation came about after the Spanish anti-doping agency shared details of the USADA report with Spain's attorney general, who in turn passed them onto prosecutors in Alicante and other provinces.

USADA's report named Spanish doctors Luis García del Moral and Pedro Celaya as well as coach José "Pepe" Martí as involved in the doping scandal. In addition, Dr. Michele Ferrari was identified as present in Alicante at a team camp.

García del Moral and Martí are not from Alicante, but come from a nearby province and it is uncertain whether they are under investigation. The team also trained in Girona, but there is no word on whether courts there are also investigating.

Because doping was not prohibited by Spanish law at the times of the incidents detailed in USADA's report, those under investigation would only potentially face charges for public health crimes.

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