On Thursday, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announced that 25K American record-holder Mo Trafeh received a four-year sanction for multiple doping violations. It is the second ban the agency has handed down this week within the sport of track and field. On Monday, USA Track and Field Olympic coach Jon Drummond was given an eight-year sanction for doping violations.
Trafeh, a 29-year-old Moroccan-born U.S. citizen, has had rumors of PED use swirl around him since high school. The eight-time U.S. road champion was stopped at John F. Kennedy International Airport on February 8 and found to have six EPO syringes on his person, according to the report, which was produced by the American Arbitration Association and released by USADA.
In a statement through his lawyer to LetsRun.com in June, Trafeh said he purchased the banned substance as a means of returning to competition after being sidelined by chronic injuries. “I was stopped before I was able to use EPO, I never previously used EPO, and if I had the financial resources to fight this case, I am confident that I would prevail,” he told LetsRun.com. Rather than take the matter to court, Trafeh announced his retirement.
Contradicting his previous claim, in an interview included in the report, Trafeh admits to using EPO as far back as January 2012 and purchasing it on four separate occasions, including prior to the 2012 Olympic Team Trials marathon, which he did not finish.
“This decision by the independent arbitrator shows the importance of nonanalytical cases in the effort to protect clean athletes,” USADA CEO Travis Tygart said in the announcement. “Along with education and testing, investigations are a critical component of the mission to ensure that those who defraud their competitors with the use of performance-enhancing drugs and attempt to evade testing to avoid getting caught don’t get away with it.”
Trafeh’s sanction, backdated to January 1, 2012, has nullified his 2012 U.S. 15K National Championship, his 2013 U.S. Half Marathon Championship, and his 25K American record, set on May 11, 2013.