PITTSBURGH -- A cyclist who was a U.S. Anti-Doping Agency witness against Floyd Landis in 2007 pleaded guilty on Wednesday to conspiracy to distribute human growth hormone and another performance-enhancing drug he imported from China.
Joe Papp, 34, of the Pittsburgh suburb of Bethel Park, pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to sell HGH and Erythropoietin, or EPO, over the Internet. He faces up to five years in prison on each of the conspiracy charges when he's sentenced June 25.
Papp earned more than $80,000 selling the drugs from September 2006 to September 2007 to 187 customers "including cyclists and other athletes, throughout the United States and internationally," Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary McKeen Houghton said.
None of the customers was identified in court, and Houghton, Papp and his attorney, William Ward, declined to comment on terms of the plea agreement, which was sealed by the court. Often that is done if a defendant is cooperating with the government, but Ward and Houghton refused to say if that was the case.
Papp's Chinese connection is identified only by the name "Chen" and authorities did not say if that person would be charged. The evidence against Papp is largely in e-mails between him and his customers, a Web site he operated through which the drugs were sold, and a private mailbox where Papp allegedly received the drugs.
"The e-mails would also show that no prescriptions were written by medical doctors and that the drugs were sold for use to enhance athletic performance," Houghton told the judge.
Papp has admitted using performance enhancing drugs since testosterone metabolites were found in his urine at a Turkish cycling tour in May 2006, and was later suspended from cycling for two years.
That's wrong, because HGH is legal, it's even safe for children!!!!! Why can't he use it?
It's legal for medical use but I think it is on the banned list for athletes. Plus it is probably considered a prescribed drug in the USA. So it may have to be administered under a doctors care. Does anyone know for sure.