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El Paso man accused in effort to ‘corrupt’ 2020 Tokyo Olympics granted bond, may soon be released from jail

EL PASO, Texas – Eric Lira, a "naturopathic" therapist from El Paso, is being held at the El Paso downtown detention facility. He was taken into custody on Jan. 12. The arrest stems from an FBI investigation in which U.S. prosecutors say he used his medical connections in Juarez to send at least one athlete performance-enhancing drugs ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Tuesday morning, as Lira's detention hearing was wrapping up and it seemed as though he would be granted a $100,000 bond, a U.S. Attorney representing the government asked the judge to wait to see if the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan would like to file an appeal. Despite Lira's attorney objecting to the request, U.S. Magistrate Judge Miguel Torres agreed to wait on the bond decision until 5 P.M.

The response came in sooner as Lira's attorney, Mary Stillinger, confirmed with ABC-7 that no appeal was filed.

"The government decided that it would not appeal the bond decision, so Mr. Lira will be released once a bond is posted," Stillinger said.

Officials with the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Southern District of New York are the ones who filed the anti-doping charges.

Judge Torres said that a deciding factor in granting the bond was his connection to El Paso, including property ownership.

Also discussed in the hearing was the investigation that led to Lira's arrest. The FBI agent who followed the investigation talked about the evidence he had.

"Individual-1, found performance-enhancing drugs, PEDS, human growth hormone otherwise known as somatropin, insulin growth factor, and erythropoietin otherwise known as EPO," said the FBI agent. "In athlete-2's apartment in a suitcase as well as in an envelope addressed to athlete-1 and the sender of that envelop was the defender."

The U.S. Attorney's Office also claims that Lira would provide human growth hormone and other prescription PEDs to the athletes without a prescription to avoid any records in the athletes' names.

ABC-7 will continue to monitor this case and bring you the latest as soon as it is available.

Emmanuel Esparza


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