MOSCOW, April 24 (R-Sport) – Authorities in Perm have arrested two men, including a weightlifter, accused of smuggling and trafficking steroids from Belarus, the region’s narcotics bureau said Tuesday.
The weightlifter, authorities said, is a “master of sports, international class,” a governmental honor given to Russian athletes who win international championships.
His older accomplice has prior steroid smuggling convictions and is not an athlete, according to authorities.
When they were arrested, the pair were in possession of a combined two kilograms of anabolic steroids, authorities said.
The men had allegedly been selling steroids in Perm for the past year, distributing them among “a narrow range of clients.”
Authorities said names would not be released until official charges were laid.
The arrests come a day after Russia’s deputy sports minister Yuri Nagornykh told the “Sports Without Doping” conference in Moscow that positive doping tests for Russian athletes is on the decline. He did not offer any statistics to support his claim.
Russia’s poor doping record has long been a stain on the country’s sporting establishments, and the issue has come to the fore with Moscow set to host the World Athletics Championships this summer and the Winter Olympics in 2014.
There are currently 37 Russians on the International Association of Athletics Federations’ list of sanctioned athletes in violation of anti-doping rules.