Mo Trafeh: A Drug Cheat and Liar
6 months after confessing to LetsRun.com, eight time US road champion Mo Trafeh has been suspended for four years for using EPO – a drug he told us he only purchased, never used. Trafeh now admits to using EPO which he says he learned of from other pros in Flagstaff, Arizona. Who were those pros?
Eight-Time U.S. Champion Passed 21 Tests While on EPO; Trafeh Is Stripped Of His 25k U.S. Record
December 18, 2014
Eight-time U.S. road champion, two-time Foot Locker finalist and former U.S. 25k record holder Mo Trafeh’s four-year drug ban was formally announced today by USADA with the release of the ruling by the American Arbitration Association. (The ruling is here and embedded at the bottom of this article).
This summer, in an exclusive to LetsRun.com, Trafeh admitted he’d purchased EPO and announced his retirement from the sport. Trafeh denied to LetsRun.com that he actually used the EPO, but the AAA report shows that to be a lie, as he admitted to a USADA investigator that he used EPO from January 2012 onwards.
Trafeh never failed a drug test. In February of 2014, he was caught by Department of Homeland Security officers transporting into the U.S. syringes of what eventually was determined to be EPO. At the same time, he claimed on his drug testing whereabouts form to be in Morocco. Drug testers showed up five days later to drug test him in Morocco, and he claimed he was 630km away visiting his sick mother, which was a lie, as he was back in the United States.
1) Trafeh is a Cheat and a Liar
A lot of drug cheats claim when they are busted it was their first time using the drug. Trafeh took it one step further and told LetsRun.com that he never used the EPO he had purchased. Trafeh’s own words to USADA show that he was lying to LRC.
2) Doping With EPO and Passing Tests Appears to Be Pretty Easy if You Believe Mo Trafeh As He Passed 21 Drug Tests While On EPO
Trafeh told USADA he bought four batches of EPO: in January 2012, the summer of 2012 in advance of Olympic Trials, in early 2013, and in January 2014. During this time period, he won four U.S. titles (U.S. 15k and 10 mile titles in 2012, the US 25k and half marathon champs in 2013), set the American 25k record, and ran his 2:11:41 marathon pr in Fukuoka. During this time, Trafeh took and passed at least 21 drug tests according to the USADA website (5 in 2012, 12 in 2013, 4 in 2014). If Trafeh is telling the truth on how he used the drug, it seems using EPO and passing drug tests does not appear to be too hard for a top U.S. road racer.
Trafeh says he got the drug from a friend in Morocco, at a cost of 2500 dirham ($680) for six syringes, and that Trafeh himself, “conducted research on his own to determine how to use EPO and determined the drug could be administered by injecting the doses into the fold of his stomach or into a vein in his arm, depending on when the drug needed to be cleared out his system.”
Trafeh told USADA he took EPO for two weeks and would stop a minimum of 10 days before a competition. It’s also clear Trafeh repeatedly evaded USADA testers by lying and saying he was in the Morocco, when he was actually in the U.S., figuring he was less likely to get tested in Morocco.
3) Who Else in Flagstaff was Doping?
Trafeh claims he started doping only in 2012 (we don’t believe him), but the report has this nugget of info on page 12, “Respondent also conceded that he had first been encouraged and ultimately convinced to use EPO by a fellow distance runner he had previously trained and lived with in Flagstaff, Arizona in 2010 and 2011. Respondent also identified several other individuals involved in the sport whom he associated with and knew or strongly suspected were engaged in doping activities.”
(If you know who Trafeh lived with in Flagstaff in 2010 and 2011, email us or call us at 844-LETSRUN)
4) LRC Nation is pretty good at finding cheats
Mo Trafeh first won a U.S. title in 2010 at the U.S. 15k champs, and immediately some of you were suspecting him of cheating. When someone comes out of nowhere to start winning U.S. titles, it makes sense for the public to be suspicious. Trafeh claims he didn’t start cheating until 2012, but we don’t believe him. Looking at his results, Trafeh’s first big breakthrough was his second-place finish at the U.S. 20k Championships at the New Haven Road Race on Labor Day 2009.
In 2009, Trafeh listed his residence as Flagstaff, Arizona. Considering Trafeh told investigators he was exposed to EPO in 2010 in Flagstaff, it’s our bet he started using it in 2009 in Flagstaff.
Martin Fagan, an Irish-based Flagstaff athlete, was busted for EPO in late 2011.
We don’t know of any other recent Flagstaff athletes with drug positives, but if you do email us. Ezkyas Sisay also tested positive for EPO in 2012 and trained in Flagstaff.
5) USADA Let Trafeh Run the U.S. 10 Mile Champs This Year Even Though He Admitted to Using EPO
Trafeh had promised to cooperate with investigators and admitted to using EPO earlier this year, but was still scheduled to run the U.S. 10 Mile Champs at the Cherry Blossom Race in Washington, D.C. USADA told him he still could run, but wouldn’t be able to take the prize money. Trafeh was 11th overall and the third American – a result that would normally net him $2,000. We’ll contact Cherry Blossom and see if they were tipped off not to pay Mo.
6) Trafeh’s Admission to LetsRun.com Was Used as Evidence
Trafeh didn’t show up at his hearing so the arbiter used Trafeh’s confession to LetsRun.com as “an unambigous public admission of anti-doping rule violations.” Also, when USADA was trying to get Trafeh to continue to cooperate, Trafeh threatened to back out and tell the media about his doping and retire from the sport. That is essentially what he did, but all that did was get him a four-year drug suspension instead of possibly a reduced suspension if he cooperated.
Full AAA decision appears below. Discuss this article in our forum here.
More from the LRC Archives: *June 26: Mo Trafeh – American Record Holder At 25k – Caught With EPO, Is Retiring From The Sport