The Operación Puerto doping case (Operation Mountain Pass) is a Spanish doping case against doctor Eufemiano Fuentes and a number of accomplices, started in May 2006. He is accused of administering prohibited doping products to 200 professional athletes, to enhance their performance.
Spanish police raided residences. In one, belonging to Fuentes, they found a thousand doses of anabolic steroids, 100 packets of blood products, and machines to manipulate and transfuse them.
In March 2004 in an interview with the Spanish newspaper Diario AS, Jesús Manzano exposed systematic doping in his former cycling team, Kelme. He detailed blood doping as well as the performance-enhancing drugs he used while on the team. The investigation and the allegations he made led to questioning of several members of the team in April 2004. These included Eufemiano Fuentes who was the Kelme team doctor, Walter Virú the doctor before Fuentes, and Alfredo Córdova who was working for Liberty Seguros-Würth but involved with Kelme in 2003. An investigation began into the practices of Fuentes in early 2006 by the anti-drug trafficking arm of the Spanish Guardia Civil.
The following article (an interview with Fuentes) dates from 1985.
Los atletas españoles reciben ayuda médica para mejorar sus resultados (Spanish athletes receive medical help to improve performance):
The wife of the doctor at the center of Spain's biggest doping investigation says Spanish sports would be ruined if she revealed what she knows about drug use among athletes.
"I know what happened at Barcelona '92 and I'm a Pandora's Box that, if opened one day, could bring down sport,"
The first case of performance enhancement to which Fuentes has been linked was a family affair. It happened in the mid-1980s, and the athlete in question was Cristina Pérez, Fuentes's wife.
A few years later, Fuentes, after developing contacts to the cycling scene, became team physician for various profession teams, ultimately even becoming their training and competition strategist. The physician never seemed to be bothered by persistent rumors of his involvement in doping activities. "I was always under suspicion," he says, "but nothing ever happened."
The more successful his riders became, the safer and more confident Fuentes felt. Before a difficult individual time trial in the 1991 Tour of Spain, or Vuelta, the doctor was sitting on a plane bound for the Spanish Mediterranean island of Mallorca. Fuentes told journalists also traveling on the flight that the cooler on the seat next to him contained "the key to victory in the Vuelta." His comments proved to be true, when a pro on the team sponsored by Fuentes's employer at the time, Once, won not only the difficult time trial but also the overall tour.
A paradise for performance enhancement
Besides, until now there has been very little public pressure in Spain to prosecute those involved in performance enhancement. Even El País, an investigative newspaper that now leads the pack in reporting on "Operation Mountain Pass," was long averse to even addressing the topic.
This atmosphere allowed Spain to develop into a paradise for athletes interested in performance enhancement. The first reports about compliant doctors and well-equipped laboratories began making the rounds in the track and field world in the late 1990s. The suspicion that a network had developed in this environment was confirmed last year when the police staged a spectacular coup against the drug cartel. In a series of raids on the Spanish mainland, as well as on the Canary and Balearic Islands, police secured 10 tons of illegal doping products.
Looks like quite the scandal. How did the spanish authorities handle it?
Wahrscheinlich könnte man schon ermitteln, welche Sportler bei Fuentes gedopt haben. Aber da dies für das Strafrecht nicht relevant ist, wurden diese Ermittlungen nicht durchgeführt. Und deshalb werden mit großer Wahrscheinlichkeit in dem Verfahren gegen Fuentes auch keine neuen Sportlernamen oder Sportarten auftauche", erklärte der für den Fall Fuentes zuständige Madrider Oberstaatsanwalt Eduardo Esteban
- One could probably find out which athletes were doped by Fuentes but this is not relevant for the law.
Wenn das Urteil endgültig ist, nach einer möglichen Berufung, dann ist es wahrscheinlich, dass am Ende die Blutbeutel und Beweise zerstört werden", sagte der zuständige Revisionsrichter am Oberlandesgericht Madrid, Arturo Beltran,
- The evidence is likely to be destroyed.
Note that all these quotes are pre-Operacion Galgo.
¿Sus clientes o pacientes sólo son ciclistas o también ha tratado a deportistas de otras especialidades?
Fuentes: He tratado deportistas de muchas especialidades: ciclistas, tenistas, atletas, futbolistas.... Veinticinco años de profesión dan cabida para mucho.
¿En qué porcentaje ha tratado a ciclistas respecto a otros deportistas?
Fuentes: Es difícil saberlo... Pero pongamos que ha habido un 30 por ciento de ciclistas, un 20 de tenistas, otro 20 de futbolistas y el 30 por ciento restante pertenecían a deportes varios.
Are your clients or patients only cyclists or have you also treated athletes from other sports?
Fuentes: "I've treated athletes from many sports: cyclists, tennis players, athletes (track & field), footballers .... Twenty-five years of work make room for a lot."
What percentage of those treated were cyclists and other athletes respectively?
Fuentes: "It's hard to say ... But let's say there has been 30 percent cyclists, 20 percent tennis players, another 20 percent football players and 30 percent belonged to other sports."
"Me indigna la filtración selectiva."
"I am outraged by the selective filtration."
"Sólo han salido nombres de ciclistas... como ayuda a la recuperación, a futbolistas, tenistas o atletas".
Only names of cyclists were leaked, but he also treated footballers, tennis players and (track & field) athletes.
Im WDR spricht Pat McQuaid, Präsident des Rad-Weltverbandes UCI, davon, dass er im Jahr 2006 in Anwesenheit von Ermittlungsbehörden und des spanischen Sportministers die Auskunft erhielt, dass auch andere Sportarten betroffen wären: Schwimmen, Rudern, Tennis und Fußball.
Pat McQuaid, president of the UCI Road World Federation, told WDR that he received in 2006, in the presence of investigative authorities and the Spanish sports minister, information that other sports would be affected: swimming, rowing, tennis and football.
Jesús María Manzano Ruano (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, May 12, 1978) is a former Spanish professional road racing cyclist. He is famous as the whistleblower of systematic doping within his cycling team and his statements led the Guardia Civil to conduct the Operación Puerto investigation around the sport doctor Eufemiano Fuentes.
Two years after Manzano’s first allegations to the international press, the Operación Puerto investigation began in early 2006 with the result of arrests in May 2006. Manzano’s statements had led directly to the development of this investigation.
Doping whistleblower Jesus Manzano, whose statements to the Spanish federation and government are believed to have initiated the Puerto investigation, has claimed an international footballer and three prominent Spanish athletes had been treated by the doctor at the centre of the Puerto inquiry, Eufemiano Fuentes. Speaking to German TV channel ZDF, Manzano said of the footballer: "It is a player who I do not meet that much because he is travelling a lot with his club and the national team. He is now afraid like everyone else." Manzano also alleged he had seen two-time world marathon champion Abel Anton, former European 5,000-metre champion Alberto Garcia and Spanish 1,500-metre athlete Reyes Estevez in the hotel where Fuentes is claimed to have offered consultations.
"Fuentes is still active. He doesn't have as many customers, but he still treats cyclists. I myself have spoken with one. It is a Spanish top rider."
"Fuentes had other athletes. Track & field athletes, rowers and he spoke of football players," said Manzano. "He told us that he had problems with the football club Las Palmas and besides, blood analyses of football players were found during the searches of Fuentes' home in Madrid."
Now, let's have a look at Operacion Galgo.
In a further doping scandal, in 2010, Fuentes was arrested by Spanish police as part of Operación Galgo (Operation Greyhound). In a series of simultaneous raids across five provinces on 9 December, Spanish police seized a large quantity of anabolic steroids, hormones and EPO, as well as laboratory equipment for blood transfusions. According to Público newspaper, Eufemiano Fuentes and his sister Yolanda were the leaders of the alleged plot. Also arrested were the athlete Marta Dominguez, who was released on bail after having been charged with the trafficking and distribution of doping substances, and Alberto Leon, now retired from mountain biking, in whose fridge anti-doping police found several bags of blood.
Lista de detenidos
Alberto García: atleta y campeón de Europa (2002) en los 5. 000 metros.
Nuria Fernández y Reyes Estévez, interrogados
Operación Galgo: Manuel Pascua [Track & Field coach] admits facilitating the doping of his athletes
Each page corresponds to the doping planning for each type of athletic competition, aimed at the athletes he trains,” said a Guardia Civil statement. In documents seen by El Pais, Pascua acknowledges that he has partaken in doping with several of his athletes.
Rather than the cryptic, but obvious, codenames used by Fuentes’ blood-doping ring, where cyclists were named after their dogs, Pascua used simple letter/number codes for his athletes. According to the Guardia Civil A15 refers to Nuria Fernández, B15-30 to Reyes Estévez, A1 to Murillo Digna Luz and B8B to Eugenio Barrios.
I guess Fuentes was telling the truth about "treating" track athletes and Manzano was right about Garcia and Estevez and about Fuentes still being active, but what they said about footballers is just nonsense, right?
Surely Fuentes and his clients were actually punished this time?
Charges against Eufemiano Fuentes dismissed
Operacion Galgo, or “Operation Greyhound,” the Spanish investigation into an alleged blood doping ring involving Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes has been closed due to “a lack of evidence.”
Well, I guess "a large quantity of anabolic steroids, hormones and EPO, as well as laboratory equipment for blood transfusions", "several bags of blood" and confessions, doesn't count as evidence...
Tour de France winner, Oscar Perreiro, also claims Eufemiano Fuentes doped footballers.