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Wednesday, 26 April, 2000, 18:56 GMT 19:56 UK
Australian scientist charged over steroids
drugs_graphic
The drug DHEA is banned by the Olympic Committee
A scientist at Sydney's top Olympic training centre has been charged with illegally importing steroids ordered over the internet.

Australian customs officials said the scientist, John Pryor, of the Sydney Academy of Sport, would appear in court on 9 May on two counts of importing banned steroids.

Customs officials intercepted a parcel addressed to Mr Pryor, which contained DHEA, or dehydrohepiandrosterone.

The testosterone-based drug is illegal in Australia and is on the International Olympic Committee's list of banned substances.

But it is sold over the counter in the United States.

The academy has suspended Mr Pryor, a strength and speed specialist, pending the outcome of the police investigation.

The academy's director-general, Brendan O'Reilly, said the drugs had been ordered over the internet.

If found guilty, Mr Pryor faces up to five years in jail and fines of up to A$100,000 ($58,700).

More drugs seized

Customs Service figures show an increase in the seizures of sports drugs in Australia over the past six years, up from 27 in 1994/95 to 968 in 1998/99.

John Drury, deputy chief executive of the Customs Service, said other officials and athletes were under investigation for sports drugs offences.

No big-name stars or Olympic athletes were involved, he said.

New South Wales Police Commissioner Peter Ryan said organised crime rings appeared to be behind the increased importation of sports drugs.

Earlier this month, Australian basketball star Annie La Fleur denied any link with a package of DHEA addressed to her that was intercepted by customs officials.

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13 Jan 00 | Europe
New body tackles drugs in sport
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