Evidence Illegally Obtained in Operación Galgo Steroid Investigation

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The Spanish courts continue to thwart anti-doping officials with their latest ruling on a major anti-doping investigation. The Audiencia Provincial de Madrid ruled that evidence seized in the Operación Galgo case was obtained illegally. Consequently, the anabolic steroids, stored blood and medical equipment used for transfusions seized by steroid investigators could not be used to prosecute any of the defendants on doping charges.

“The police sought judicial authorisation to record phone conversations (of suspects) and the judge agreed without the existence of a basic and consistent investigation,” according to court’s ruling.  “It was based on mere conjecture, speculation and generalisations, without the rigour required to prove a crime of doping in sport.”

The codename Operación Galgo is Spanish for Operation Greyhound. La Guardia Civil had seized large quantities of steroids and doping supplies from around the Iberian peninsula.

Doping was recently criminalized in Spain. All athletes implicated by the investigation have been legally exonerated. These include Marta Domínguez, Nuria Fernández, Alberto García, Reyes Estévez, Alemayehu Bezabeh and Adriënne Herzog. The ruling also the case against coaches César Pérez, Manuel Pascua and María José Martínez Guerrero. Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, who was previously implicated in the Operación Puerto, was also linked to Operación Galgo.

Unfortunately, one former mountain bike racer who allegedly worked as a courier for Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes did not benefit from the legal victory. Alberto Leon was accused of transporting and administering EPO and blood transfusions to various Spanish cyclists and track athletes.  Leon committed suicide after being linked to the Operación Galgo doping investigation.

Marta Dominguez and Adriënne Herzog had already escaped punishment from the steroid investigation. They were acquitted in July 2011 and August 2011, respectively.

However, another Spanish steroid investigation codenamed Operación Skype has resulted in the detention of Marta Dominguez’ former coach earlier this month. César Pérez was detained as a member of a Barcelona-based doping ring that allegedly provided steroids, hGH, EPO, CERA and other PEDs to top Spanish athletes.

The Spanish government’s investigation of steroid trafficking in athletic circles is likely to intensify as they attempt to create a perception of low tolerance for doping in their bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympic Games.

 Operation Greyhound


Reuters. (March 23, 2012). Operation Greyhound anti-doping probe invalid, says court. Retrieved from