PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) — Mets shortstop Jose Reyes said Sunday he met with federal investigators last week regarding a Canadian doctor accused of selling an unapproved drug.
Dr. Anthony Galea is facing four charges in his country related to the unapproved drug known as Actovegin, which is extracted from calf’s blood and used for healing. His assistant also has been charged in the U.S. for having HGH and another drug while crossing the border in September.
Galea is known for using a blood-spinning technique — platelet-rich plasma therapy — that is designed to speed recovery from injuries. Besides Reyes, he has also treated Tiger Woods and several other professional athletes.
“They just asked me basically how I met the guy and stuff like that and what he put in my body,” Reyes said. “I explained to them what he (was) doing. … I don’t worry about anything because I didn’t do anything wrong.”
SI.com reported Saturday night that federal officials have told several athletes to expect grand jury subpoenas in the case. The Web site cited three anonymous sources familiar with the investigation.
The New York Times reported in December, citing anonymous sources, that the FBI opened an investigation into Galea based in part on medical records found on his computer relating to several professional athletes.
Reyes said he met with investigators for about 45 minutes at the Mets’ spring facility after they contacted him Thursday morning. One of his agents, Chris Leible, also was present.
The Daily News of New York was the first to report Reyes had met with investigators.
Reyes, who missed much of last season with right leg problems, said he spent five days in Toronto in September and was treated by Galea three times. The shortstop was asked by investigators if he used HGH.
“They asked me if he injected me with that. I say ‘No,’” Reyes said. “What we do there, basically, he took my blood out, put it in some machines, spin it out and put it back in my leg. So I explained to them that.”
Reyes said he felt better for a while after the treatment but his leg still didn’t respond when he tried to push it. He had surgery in October to clean up some scar tissue remaining from a torn hamstring tendon behind his right knee.
Galea was arrested Oct. 15 after a search warrant was executed at the Institute of Sports Medicine Health and Wellness Centre near Toronto. He is charged with selling Actovegin, conspiracy to import an unapproved drug, conspiracy to export a drug and smuggling goods into Canada.
Galea’s lawyer, Brian H. Greenspan, has said his client has denied any wrongdoing. Greenspan also has said Galea has used HGH himself and prescribed it to non-athlete patients over the age of 40 to improve their quality of life, but said he has never given it to athletes.
The Times also reported in December that Galea visited Woods’ home in Florida at least four times in February and March to provide the platelet therapy. Woods was recovering from June 2008 knee surgery.
During his public apology for cheating on his wife, Woods said any allegations that he used performance-enhancing drugs were “completely and utterly false.” Greenspan has said the golfer is in no way linked to the charges against Galea.
The investigation into Galea began when his assistant, who often drove the doctor around, was stopped attempting to enter the United States from Canada.
Vials and ampules containing human growth hormone and Actovegin were found in a car driven by Mary Anne Catalano, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and U.S. federal court documents.
Catalano, a Canadian, told American authorities at the border in Buffalo, N.Y., that she knew the drugs were illegal and that she was transporting them for her employer. According to an affidavit, Catalano also told authorities that her boss instructed her to say she was coming to a medical conference if she were questioned about the purpose of her trip and also to say that none of the equipment was for treating patients.
Dr. Gary Wadler said in December that the International Olympic Committee became concerned about Actovegin in 2000 after it appeared during that year’s Tour de France. The drug was placed on the banned list, then removed a year later because more evidence was needed as to whether it was performance-enhancing or damaging to athletes’ health, said Wadler, who leads the committee that determines the World Anti-Doping Agency’s banned-substances list.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.