Edited Press Release
As part of its preparations for administration of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority’s (HISA) Anti-Doping and Medication Control (ADMC) Program, the Horseracing Integrity and Welfare Unit (HIWU) is building a robust investigations unit to administer this fundamental component of the Program.
The investigations unit will be led by Shawn Loehr and Naushaun “Shaun” Richards, who will be guided by their decades of law enforcement and investigative experiences to help ensure the success of Thoroughbred racing’s first national, uniform ADMC program.
Richards joined HIWU after a decorated 23-year tenure with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). He was most recently a supervisory special agent in the FBI’s Eurasian Organized Crime Task Force. Richards initiated and directed the highly publicized criminal investigation involving the widespread misbranding of drugs, doping of racehorses, and international money laundering that ultimately resulted in the indictments of more than 30 individuals, including trainers Jorge Navarro and Jason Servis.
In his role as HIWU’s director of intelligence and strategy, Richards will focus on long-range investigations, which will rely heavily on real-time intelligence, strategy, sophisticated investigative techniques and data analysis to identify and prosecute potential significant violations of the ADMC Program. He will liaise with federal, state, and local law enforcement as it relates to possible criminal violations.
Loehr, HIWU’s director of investigative operations, joined HIWU following a distinguished 27-year career in law enforcement in California. Loehr had most recently spent nearly four years as the chief of enforcement and licensing for the California Horse Racing Board, where he managed all investigations and licensing staff. Loehr also spent time as chief investigator for the Sacramento County Department of Human Assistance, district attorney investigator for Sacramento County, and a police officer in Redding, CA.
As director of investigative operations, Loehr will oversee the investigators stationed at tracks across the country. In states that have signed voluntary agreements with HIWU, existing state investigators may be utilized. In states that choose to opt out of signing a voluntary agreement, HIWU is contracting independent investigators to work at specific tracks under Loehr’s leadership. Loehr is also responsible for developing standardized investigative protocols for Anti-Doping and Controlled Medication Rule Violations, as well as other related investigative procedures.
Loehr and Richards will be supported by a full-time data analyst/scientist and an investigative analyst, in addition to other investigative staff. Gunter Younger, a member of the HIWU Advisory Council and director of intelligence and investigations at the World Anti-Doping Agency, will also play an active role and support all HIWU investigations. Relevant intelligence will be shared with HISA’s Racetrack Safety Program directors, and vice versa, as appropriate.
To enhance investigative efforts, HIWU will offer an anonymous whistleblower platform through which individuals can submit tips in English or Spanish concerning potential violations of the ADMC Program once the rules take effect. The system will accept submissions via email, phone, text message, and WhatsApp and be managed by Richards’ team to ensure that all tips are triaged appropriately and handled confidentially. Examples of reportable violations of the ADMC Program include, but are not limited to, the administration or use of a prohibited substance or method, trafficking, tampering with a sample collection and complicity in committing an ADMC rule violation. HIWU will circulate the relevant contact information to submit tips once it is available.
Later this month, HIWU’s investigations team will be attending the Organization of Racing Investigators Annual Training Conference in Tucson, Arizona, where they will present on their operations and how they plan to work with states to effectively administer the ADMC Program.
“HIWU understands that a strong investigations arm is essential for an ADMC program to be effective, and we could not be more excited to have Shawn and Shaun leading our efforts in this area,” said Ben Mosier, executive director of HIWU. “As a result of the work of our investigations team, stakeholders in the Thoroughbred industry can look forward to competing under a program that facilitates a level playing field while punishing those who don’t comply with the rules and threaten the safety and welfare of our equine and human athletes.”
“I am honored to be able to use my experiences at the World Anti-Doping Agency to help contribute to the HIWU investigation team’s success and promote the integrity of Thoroughbred racing,” said Younger. “We recognize the importance of whistleblowers in alerting us to potential violations, and industry members can feel confident that information can be safely shared with us through the secure platform.”
HIWU is anticipating that it will begin enforcement of the ADMC Program Mar. 27, 2023, pending approval of the ADMC rules submitted to the Federal Trade Commission in December and published to the Federal Register Jan. 26.