Jorge Navarro pleads guilty in scheme to give racehorses performance-enhancing drugs

NEW YORK -- A racehorse trainer pleaded guilty on Wednesday to charges related to a scheme to give horses performance-enhancing drugs.

Jorge Navarro entered the plea in Manhattan federal court, where sentencing was scheduled for Dec. 17.

Navarro was charged last year along with more than two dozen others in a crackdown by federal authorities on what they described as a widespread international scheme to speed up horses with drugs.

In a release, U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss called Navarro a "reckless fraudster."

Navarro was charged in a case that resulted in the arrests of trainers, veterinarians, drug distributors and others who benefitted from horses successfully competing at racetracks throughout the country, including in New York, New Jersey, Florida, Ohio, Kentucky and the United Arab Emirates.

Prosecutors said the horses that Navarro trained and doped included XY Jet, a thoroughbred who won the 2019 Golden Shaheen race in Dubai. The horse died last year of an apparent heart attack.

As part of his plea, Navarro agreed to pay restitution of over $25 million, reflecting winnings obtained through doping, prosecutors said.

A message seeking comment was sent to Navarro's lawyer.