A Canadian sports doctor who treated top athletes and admitted bringing illegal performance-enhancing drugs into the United States was sentenced on Friday to probation for his role in transporting drugs across the border.
Dr. Anthony Galea of Toronto pleaded guilty in July to introducing misbranded drugs into the United States in a plea agreement under which stiffer charges he faced were dismissed.
Prosecutors alleged Galea and a former assistant lied to border agents during more than 100 cross-border trips between 2007 and 2009.
Galea was accused of smuggling such substances as human growth hormone used to aid in muscular and joint recovery time, energy-boosting ATP used in training, and performance drug actovegin. Human growth hormones are banned by professional sports, and actovegin is not approved for use in the United States.
U.S. District Judge Richard Arcara sentenced Galea to one-year supervised release and a $270,000 penalty.
There is no question he's paying a huge price for his misdeeds, Arcara said, citing heavy media exposure and a negative impact on Galea's career.
The judge noted Galea has been ejected from some medical associations and risks losing his medical license in Canada. He was never licensed to practice medicine in the United States.
At least 20 professional athletes were among Galea's patients, but prosecutors said they were not accusing them of using illegal drugs.
The athletes included champion pro golfer Tiger Woods, baseball player Alex Rodriguez and professional football players Jamal Lewis and Takeo Spikes.
Letters from more than 130 former patients and others were read in court, including one from former National Hockey League player Tie Domi, who also attended the sentencing.
The case came to light when Galea's assistant, Mary Anne Catalano, was arrested in 2009 carrying drugs as she crossed the Peace Bridge into Buffalo from Ontario. She pleaded guilty to making a false statement and was sentenced to one year probation.
Galea addressed the court, choking up when he described his remorse and apologizing to his former assistant for the strife that I caused her.
I blew it and I'll never forgive myself for that, he said.
Galea originally faced five charges, including a smuggling charge that carried a potential penalty of 20 years in prison.