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Contraband
05/18/2010

Criminal complaint filed against Canadian doctor

BUFFALO, N.Y. - U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced that a criminal complaint was filed today in U.S. District Court charging Dr. Anthony Galea, 50, of Toronto, with making false statements to federal officials, smuggling, unlawful distribution of human growth hormone (HGH), introducing the unapproved drug, called actovegin, into interstate commerce and conspiracy to defraud the United States.

Hochul said the complaint was based upon an ongoing investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), FBI and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The affidavit supporting the complaint alleges that Galea, who is not a U.S. citizen and who is not authorized to work in the United States, repeatedly entered the United States from 2007 to September 2009 in order to treat numerous professional athletes in the country. The athletes were said to be from Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Football League (NFL) and the Professional Golfers' Association (PGA). It is alleged that Galea's billings to three athletes from the NFL alone amounted to approximately $200,000.

The smuggling charge carries a maximum prison term of twenty years. The false statement, HGH and conspiracy charges carry maximum prison terms of five years. The charge of introducing an unapproved drug into interstate commerce carries a maximum three-year prison term. Maximum fines for those offenses are $250,000 for each count of conviction.

"This investigation is an excellent example of close cooperation between ICE, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations, FBI and FDA along with Canadian authorities," said J. Michael Kennedy, acting special agent in charge of ICE's Office of Investigations in Buffalo. "Working with our law enforcement partners, ICE is committed to stopping the flow of prohibited drugs into the United States and accomplishing one of ICE's priorities to ensure public safety."

"This office, together with our federal law enforcement partners, take seriously our obligation to protect the citizens of the United States from those who seek to engage in unlawful activities within our borders, or those who would cross our borders for the purpose of engaging in crime," said Hochul. "Today's complaint reveals that those responsible for the flow of illegal drugs into our country can come from all walks of life. We remain vigilant in our effort to protect our nation's borders from these threats regardless of the status of those who cross them."

"Today's developments lend credence to the importance of a strong working relationship between federal law enforcement agencies," said FBI Special Agent in Charge James H. Robertson. "Aside from the international aspect of the case, this joint investigation took investigators to multiple jurisdictions across the county. Without federal resources, this far-reaching operation would not have been successful."

The affidavit reports that American border officials spoke to Galea in early 2009 and told him he could not bring certain medical supplies into the United States. Thereafter, in September 2009, a different person was stopped at the Peace Bridge carrying medical supplies. It is alleged that this person was directed by Galea to tell border inspection officers that the medical supplies were intended only for display at a medical conference in the Washington, D.C. area, when in fact the person intended to transport the products for Galea so he could treat an NFL football player.

The three NFL patients of Galea are identified in the affidavit as witnesses 1 through 3, but are not otherwise named. Witness No. 1 allegedly received injections of actovegin from Galea. Actovegin is not banned by the NFL, but its use is not approved by the FDA. Witness No. 2 allegedly had two kits of HGH delivered to his residence at Galea's direction on Aug. 27, 2009. HGH is only approved for use for certain specific medical conditions, and is banned by the NFL. Witness No. 3 was alleged to have been treated numerous times in the United States by Galea.

The criminal complaint was filed as a result of an investigation by special agents at ICE, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Lev Kubiak, the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James Robertson, and the FDA Office of Criminal Investigations, New York Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Mark Dragonetti. Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul J. Campana is conducting the prosecution of the case.