September 24, 2018
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Spanish police arrest 6 athletes on suspicion of doping, bust dealing ring

Madrid, Jun 21 (efe-epa).- Six athletes have been arrested in Spain on suspicion of doping and a ring dedicated to selling and distributing performance-enhancing substances has been busted, Spanish police said Thursday.

Among those arrested was Ethiopian runner Gizaw Bekele, who won the recent Madrid half-marathon race, police sources told EFE.

"Six athletes arrested in the anti-doping operation. Growth hormones, insulin, testosterone and transfusion materials have been seized," Spain's National Police said on its site.

Six raids were carried out during which police seized the drugs as well as injectable vitamins and substances used in self-applied transfusions, the police statement said.

The others were athletics coach Rachid Najid and his wife Malika Asahssah _ who was already sanctioned for four years for doping _ Said Aitadi, Fatima Ayachi and Abebe Mulugeta, according to police.

All the suspects arrested had made sports their means of income and would take part in races that were held in popular Spanish cities where prize money was on offer, police told EFE.

Some could obtain an income of 7,000 euros ($8,100) per month, adding that Bekele had won half-marathons in Elche, Almería and Madrid, as well as the Liberty Race in June where he ran 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) in just under half an hour.

The organization also acted as a smuggling ring, using athletes' trips to Morocco, France and Italy as cover to smuggle in drugs concealed in their luggage.

The organization suspected of practicing doping has been shut down, chief commissioner Pilar Álvarez confirmed at a press conference.

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