April 26, 2006
CHICAGO – Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Will County State’s Attorney James W. Glasgow, the Illinois Racing Board (IRB) and the Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) announced the indictment and arrest of a Will County man after two separate post-race incidents involving his racehorse testing positive for a drug banned from horseracing.
Donald M. Paulik, of rural Beecher, surrendered himself in court on Monday, April 24, pursuant to an arrest warrant issued for a seven-count indictment returned by the Statewide Grand Jury. The indictment stems from the discovery that his thoroughbred racehorse, Texas Tree, allegedly had been injected with etorphine prior to taking first place in races on October 21, 2005, and November 3, 2005, at the Hawthorne Race Track. The subsequent execution of a search warrant obtained by IDOR Inspector James Oliver on Paulik’s Will County residence and ranch yielded an additional quantity of suspected etorphine.
“My office is committed to ensuring the integrity of the gaming industry in Illinois,” Madigan said. “Whether it is undue influence at a proposed casino or doping at a racetrack, any alleged illegal activity is unacceptable.”
“Attorney General Madigan’s office has once again proved to be an invaluable resource in our efforts to protect the people of Will County from the scourge of dangerous drugs. My drug unit, headed by Assistant State’s Attorney Mike Knick, is cooperating completely with the Attorney General’s office to prosecute a case that involves our first encounter with the alleged unlawful administration of a rarely used but extremely volatile and potentially lethal drug to a racehorse,” Glasgow said. “Also, with the large number of facilities offering legalized gambling in our county, it is essential that we protect the integrity of the process.”
“The horseracing community is made up of dedicated, hardworking men and women who greatly value their horses and give them excellent care. We are all sickened by the revelation that anyone in our industry would use a drug such as etorphine, which can endanger the lives of human beings as well as animals,” said IRB Chairman Lorna Propes.
Propes continued, “I commend the staff of the Illinois Racing Board and Department of Revenue, especially IRB Executive Director Marc Laino, Director of Security Ed Mingey, and IDOR Inspector James Oliver, for their determination and professionalism in bringing this investigation to a successful conclusion. The Illinois Racing Board is, as ever, vigilant in its oversight of the integrity of racing.”
Etorphine (or “elephant juice” as it is sometimes called) is a banned substance under IRB Racing Rules as well as a controlled substance under state and federal law. It has a valid but limited use in the immobilization of large wild animals such as elephants. However, horseracing authorities have long been aware of the fact that, in very small quantities, the drug works as a stimulant in racehorses. It is thus used illegally to improve the chances of a horse winning a race.
Etorphine should only be handled by licensed veterinarians with a legitimate animal patient and application. Human exposure to even small amounts of the drug can prove fatal without taking the proper precautions.
The public is reminded that these charges are merely accusations. The defendant is innocent until proven guilty.
The investigation conducted by members of the IRB and the IDOR is ongoing. Assistant Attorney General Grant Swinger of Madigan’s Statewide Grand Jury Bureau and Will County Assistant State’s Attorney Michael Knick are prosecuting the case. The Office of Cook County State’s Attorney Richard Devine also has provided assistance in this case.
Charles B. Pelkie
(815) 530-7110 (cellular)
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