Why You Shouldn't Believe Marion Jones: Vol. 31

Story by Eric.

This is the 31st in a long series about Marion Jones, a former elite sprinter who won honour and earned endorsements, fame and fortune by method of fraud. The 30th series introduces Trevor Graham into the picture. Marion Jones began her professional athletics career in March 1997 with a working relationship with Trevor Graham – a coach she’d later turn over as a conspirator to defraud the sport and ruin her career, and a man who would spend 12 months in home-confinement for lying to U.S. Federal authorities concerning the BALCO affair.

This is a continuation from part 30, the introduction of Graham into the Marion Jones equation.

Angel Guillermo Heredia, a former discus thrower, steroids dealer and nutritionist with ties in
Mexico and Texas, swore in an affidavit that all associates in the Graham camp had used steroids or, at least in Graham’s case, that Graham had dispensed steroids to those associates.

Mr. Heredia testified before two grand juries that he drew those conclusions, because he had provided the drugs – and had sometimes carried those drugs across the USA border with Mexico.

This friend told me Trevor was interested in getting growth hormone, testosterone and winstrol. Trevor called me and we set up a meeting for him to come to Laredo. He came over the Christmas holiday in 1996 with Randall Evans and Alvis Whitted, two of his athletes at the time…”[1]

Heredia testified twice – once in 2003, and again in 2004 – before grand juries in San Francisco, CA, that the information he was declaring to the assembly was, to his knowledge, truthful and accurate to the best of his ability, so help him, God.

I was also relayed the same information through a third-party in an attempt to have Heredia's story told through a local media organisation here in Sweden. I worked the Heredia angle during the Marion Jones EPO fiasco, but ultimately came up short brokering a deal for an exclusive interview between my television contact and Heredia due to a financial impasse experienced between the two parties.

According to The Washington Post, a public records search showed that Burks and Heredia shared an address in Laredo in 1999. [2]

The New York Times had apparently reviewed a copy of Heredia’s most recent Grand Jury subpoena, 2006-March-24, whereby Heredia was ordered to bring records dating back to 1997, and profess through a deposition facts about eight people, including Trevor Graham, and seven athletes from his camp: Marion Jones, C.J. Hunter, Antonio Pettigrew, Garfield Ellenwood, Michelle Collins, Duane Ross and Jerome Young. [3]

Heredia testified that all had used steroids or, in Graham’s case, Trevor Graham had dispensed them.

Those assertions were further developed in an interview with Heredia in the aforementioned The Times Online (2008-May-11).

Following the visit, the two worked in tandem. Graham would send some of his athletes to Heredia, who would provide them with doping products and advise them on their use. Other athletes would remain under Graham’s supervision and Heredia would send drugs for them to the coach. [4]

This was in stark contrast to what Trevor Graham had stated to Federal investigators in a lengthy statement back in 2004, when he spoke for about three hours with Jeff Novitzky, a special agent for the Internal Revenue Service and a lead investigator in the BALCO proceedings – during which time Graham had been granted limited immunity.

Heredia testified that he made a drug plan for Marion Jones, provided the drugs to Marion Jones, and worked with Marion Jones in preparation for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, where Marion Jones won a record number of medals. Graham denied having ever met Heredia in person, nor having seen him since 1997.

Marion Jones has admitted taking drugs during the same time period in preparation for the Sydney Games.

Is her tie-in to Heredia circumstantial, or did Heredia, who had gone into hiding following his grand jury testimony, tell the truth with regard to Marion Jones and Graham? The answers to those questions are revealed in paragraphs following below.

The New York Times article also states that Heredia had likewise spoken with Federal investigators more recently not just about the aforementioned track and field athletes Graham has recently been coaching, but also Gatlin – the former co-world 100m record-holder and possessor of the fastest time (9,77 seconds) any American has run without illegal wind assistance (2,00 m/s or above).

Gatlin, himself, stands with an athletics noose strapped around his neck, as he, too, is an athlete who has tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs usage. Gatlin stated of Graham following his then-world record in Doha 2006:

He's such a mentor. He's gotten a bad rap in the past. It's a new era. I'm not them.[5]

Apparently, he is one of them, having been banned by a three-person arbitration panel on 2008-January-1 for a period of four years dating to May 2010. The defending Olympic 100m champion will not be able to defend his title.

Marion Jones, however, stated that Graham was solely responsible for her drugs-taking – a fact which, again, doesn’t line up with Heredia’s statements.

In the lead-up to Sydney, Trevor and CJ spoke to me about Marion. They wanted her to have everything she needed but it had to be undetectable. No cheap stuff. They asked me if I could get a designer steroid but it was like three weeks before the Games. Time was very short. We kept it to the main stuff: growth hormone, insulin, EPO, IGF-1 [a growth hormone].” [6]

Heredia told investigators that he had no credible knowledge of specific steroid use by Gatlin, though he reverted back to stating he provided Graham steroids for his athletes.

Graham, in one of his last in-depth interviews with the media in August 2006, fought back against allegations, tiring of the assertions. He stated the following to Mike Fish, an investigative reporter whose work is published in ESPN:

You hear stories: 'Trevor is going across the [Mexican] border for [steroids]. Trevor is doing this and that,'” Graham told ESPN.com.

Now, the feds already did their homework and found out none of Trevor's athletes have ever been there. Not Trevor Graham. But as long as they keep saying this and trying to push everything this way, the media and everyone else will try to go after Trevor Graham. Why? 'Cause Trevor Graham's athletes continue to run fast and they continue to do well.

I'm not concerned by any of this. They can look at me. I don't care. If I have something to hide, then that is when I would care. But I don't have anything to hide. [7]

Notwithstanding Mr. Heredia’s knowledge – or lack of – concerning Gatlin having knowingly taken a performance-enhancing drug, Gatlin tested positive with both “A”-sample and “B”-sample results displaying unallowable levels of testosterone.

Not a week after the New York Times printed and distributed its story concerning Heredia, Gatlin’s camp publicly disclosed information pertaining to Gatlin failing a drugs test, and the ensuing investigation surrounding the mystery failure.

One year after the story – which had run at nearly the same time as Marion Jones’s leaked positive test result – Marion Jones publicly disclosed information pertaining to her previous lying to Federal investigators.

(Note: Gatlin has, since this failure, acknowledged the test results are accurate, though he has not taken responsibility, itself, for ingesting performance-enhancing drugs. His case has been under review, and he was found guilty of taking performance-enhancing drugs; he was unable to provide a 50,1% degree of evidence to the American arbitration panel that he was doped without his permission.

Gatlin’s team of lawyers is considering a Federal appeal, and asked the CAS on 2008-May-19 to not consider Gatlin’s first offense as a breaking of the rules. Since his last athletics race, he had a try-out (2006-11-29) with the Houston Texans and Arizona Cardinals NFL football clubs, though the teams did not sign him. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers invited him to participate in their 53-player rookie minicamp at One Buccaneer Place – the first team to bring him to a formal workout. He was not picked to continue to NFL camp, and tried his hand at receiving in the Tennessee Titans minicamp).

Thus far, what Heredia had stated is that he provided drugs to Graham and associates, and that Graham had those drugs administered to certain individuals. Marion Jones was one of those stated individuals to whom Graham is believed to have provided drugs both according to Heredia and to Marion Jones, herself. Marion Jones also fits into the time frame Heredia stated, and she has acknowledged having taken drugs at the same time as the allegation.

One may find it terribly burdensome to give credence to the statements a drugs peddler makes, and you may consider him to be a deceitful person unable to tell the truth. However, insofar as Marion Jones creates an incredible amount of circumstantial evidence at worst, and direct participation by inference, Heredia’s words may be taken at face value.

The U.S. government took Heredia’s words to be truthful, having not deemed him a court-proven liar, and used him as their key witness against Trevor Graham.

US officials never revealed the public the contents of the documents Heredia allegedly provided to the Grand Jury before the trial, but receipts, financial records, e-mail messages, and the results of blood and urine tests of athletes – independently corroborated by documents seized in the BALCO raid are believed to have coerced Heredia to cooperate. Heredia also stated to enforcement officials that he had photo evidence of having met athletes who were coached by Graham.

One of those athletes whose laboratory tests and money receipts have been linked to Heredia is former 100m world record-holder Maurice Greene, an IAAF Ambassador of the sport whom the IAAF immediately defended when the accusations were revealed.

I found John Smith very professional. He knew what was going on and wanted me to work with the two athletes from his group that he most trusted. After winning in Sydney, Maurice had slipped a bit. Tim Montgomery was the new kid on the block. Maurice wanted to run fast, make a medal at the Athens Games and hold on to his adidas contract.”

Heredia worked with Greene in 2003 and 2004. Theirs was a predominantly business relationship. “We got on fine but it wasn’t a relationship based on friendship.” Heredia claims he would call Greene, talk to him about his test results, explain to him what he was getting and make sure he followed the protocols. “He ran well in 2003 until he had problems with his knee. He followed the same protocols in 2004 and he did well to get the bronze medal in Athens.” [8]

Heredia further under oath in front of Novitzky that Greene, who stated he merely acquired supplies from Heredia for teammates, wired him $14,000 in 2003 for testosterone cream, a peptide hormone called Gonadorelin, adrenalin, erythropoietin, human growth hormone and injectable IGF-1 – all performance-enhancing drugs.

The United States Attorney’s office connected the fine lines between Heredia and Graham, and indicted Graham for lying under oath regarding his relationship to Heredia.

The problem of doping in sport extends beyond just athletes. USADA strongly believes that the coaches, doctors and support personnel who abuse their positions must also be held accountable, said U.S. Anti-Doping Agency Chief Executive Officer Terry Madden.

Our close working relationship with Kevin V. Ryan, the U.S. Attorney in San Francisco and with other law enforcement entities across the country is ongoing as we continue our effort to expel from sport those individuals who violate the rules. Today’s indictment is an example of the progress that has been made in the fight against doping as a result of the continuing cooperation between USADA and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.[9]

Graham’s legal team countered the Heredia connection by attempting to discredit Heredia’s Grand Jury testimony, stating that Heredia, a government witness, has continued to provide performance-enhancing drugs to athletes.

We do believe he is providing performance-enhancing drugs to track-and-field athletes and continues to commit federal and state offenses. We will use this to discredit his testimony.”

We will put on a case that includes evidence of his continuing distribution of performance-enhancing drugs,” she said of Heredia. [10]

Conte, according to information collected by IRS special agents in a search warrant executed 2003-09-03, authored a letter to USADA and to the IAAF stating Conte received information by an athlete that Graham was receiving oral Andriol testosterone undecanoate from a person identified as Andrew Tynes – also of Laredo, TX – who would travel across the USA-Mexico border with the drugs. Conte also stated he provided Graham performance-enhancing drugs.

I've given packages of performance-enhancing drugs directly to Trevor.[11]

Conte, in an interview conducted by the Times Online, discussed the use of testosterone undecanoate in more detail.

You take these pills – typically 40 milligrams each – three or four times a day and you need to duck and dive for only a short time because they clear the system in four days. So you can do very intense weight training for just a couple of weeks and significantly enhance your explosive strength.”

I don’t consider in-competition testing to even be dope-testing. I call that IQ-testing. If you are dumb enough to be caught in a competition, then you are mentally retarded. It’s during the off-season that athletes do their real weight training. That’s where the doping problem has always been. [12]

Tynes is a former Olympian, a World Championships contestant, the anchor leg of the Bahamian 4x100m national record team (38,98), a 20,22A 200m sprinter, and is stated by Conte have been Chandra Sturrup’s boyfriend. Sturrup is a sprinter from the Bahamas.

The letter was never submitted to neither USADA nor IAAF, and was part of evidence Novitzky collected from a trash bin.

Ironically, Gatlin tested positive for the exact same drug Conte contends Graham had received from Mexico.

[1] The Times Online, “Angel Heredia, the whistleblower”, 2008-05-11
[2] The Washington Post, “Graham Indicted For Role In Probe”, 2006-11-03
[3] The New York Times, “Investigator of Steroids Inquiry May Be a Target”, 2006-07-20
[4] The Times Online, “Angel Heredia, the whistleblower,” 2008-05-11
[5] Associated Press, “American J. Gatlin Breaks World Record for 100-Meter Dash”, 2006-05-12
[6] The Times Online, “Angel Heredia, the whistleblower”, 2008-05-11
[7] ESPN, “Graham, once eager to take on feds, will get his chance”, 2006-11-01
[8] The Times Online, “Angel Heredia, the whistleblower”, 2008-05-11
[9] U.S. Justice Department PR, “Track & Field Coach Of Olympic Athletes Indicted”, 2006-11-02
[10] The New York Times, “Drug Trial May Force Athletes to Testify”, 2007-09-06
[11] ESPN The Magazine , December 2004
[12]The Times Online, “Why doping is as easy as taking candy from a baby,” 2007-05-17

0 kommentarer: