Sylvester Stallone's Illegal Drug Bust
SYDNEY, Australia (AP) - Actor Sylvester Stallone pleaded guilty Tuesday to bringing vials of restricted muscle-building hormones into Australia and faces sentencing next week.
Lawyers for the 60-year-old star of the "Rocky" and "Rambo" movies entered the guilty pleas on behalf of the actor, who did not appear before Sydney's Downing Center Local Court.
Stallone was accused of bringing banned substances into Australia after a customs search of his luggage during a Feb. 16 visit to Sydney revealed 48 vials of the human growth hormone product, Jintropin.
Three days later, Stallone threw four vials of the male hormone testosterone from his Sydney hotel room when customs officials arrived to search it, prosecutor David Agius told the court.
Human growth hormone, a naturally occurring substance that can be replicated synthetically and is used to build muscle mass, is considered a performance enhancing drug in Australia and it cannot be imported without a permit from the national drug regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
The maximum penalty for bringing Jintropin into Australia illegally is a fine of $91,500 and five years in prison, but Stallone faces a maximum penalty of just $18,000 on each of the two charges because the matter is being heard by a local, not federal, court.
Deputy Chief Magistrate Paul Cloran said Stallone would be sentenced on Monday next week.
Agius told Deputy Chief Magistrate Paul Cloran that Stallone was to have appeared in the court through a video link but that that plan had been abandoned. Agius did not elaborate.
Prosecution documents handed to the court in March said Stallone had marked "No" on a customs declaration card that asked if he was bringing into Australia restricted or prohibited goods "such as medicines, steroids, firearms, weapons, or any kind of illicit drugs."
During his visit to Australia, Stallone shrugged off the airport incident.
"It was just a minor misunderstanding," Stallone told reporters "They were just doing their jobs. I just didn't understand some of the rules here."
He came to Australia on a three-day tour to promote the latest movie in the "Rocky" series, "Rocky Balboa." A media throng was kept waiting for hours outside Sydney International Airport for the actor and his entourage.
When a tightlipped Stallone emerged, he signed his autograph for several fans but avoided media questions about the delay.
Three days after his arrival, customs officials searched Stallone's Sydney hotel room and private jet then allowed him to leave the country.