Bethel Park cyclist pleads guilty to selling HGH

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A former professional cyclist who served a two-year suspension for doping pleaded guilty in federal court this morning to conspiracy to distribute two performance enhancing drugs.

Joseph Papp, 34, of Bethel Park, was selling Human Growth Hormone and another drug, Erthropoietin, known as EPO, online. According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Houghton, Mr. Papp's supplier was in China.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy for selling the substances between September 2006 and September 2007. During that time, Mr. Papp sold about $80,000 worth of the drugs to approximately 187 customers.

The plea agreement in the case is sealed, so it is unclear if Mr. Papp is cooperating against anyone.

According to his own website, Mr. Papp represented himself as a "USA Cycling Elite Coach." He finished in the top 10 at the UCI Pan American Continental Championships road race three times between 1996 and 2005.

During the International 42nd Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey in May 2006, Mr. Papp tested positive for testosterone metabolites. He was suspended from competitive cycling for two years. In May 2007, he testified about his illegal use of drugs and the performance-enhancing benefits of them at the trial conducted by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency concerning Floyd Landis and his use of drugs during the 2006 Tour de France. He did not testify about whether he sold drugs to Mr. Landis, who had his win in the race taken away for drug use.

Mr. Papp will be sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge Gary L. Lancaster on June 25.


Paula Reed Ward can be reached at pward@post=-gazette.com or 4120-263-2620.


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