- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 15, 2007

12:38 p.m.

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) — Sylvester Stallone pleaded guilty today 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.

“I made a terrible mistake, not because I was attempting to deceive anyone, but I was simply ignorant to your official rules,” Mr. Stallone said in a letter to Sydney’s Local Court. “I feel terrible that my breach of the rules has set a poor example to members of the public, whose opinion I cherish dearly.”

Mr. 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, Mr. 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 Mr. 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 Mr. Stallone would be sentenced on Monday next week.

Mr. Stallone’s lawyer, Phillip Boulten, said the actor should be spared a criminal conviction, saying Stallone took the hormones for medical reasons that he did not specify.

“The defendant, Sylvester Stallone, is extremely mortified about having been involved in this incident,” Mr. Boulten told the court. “Had he known that what he was doing was contrary to Australian law, he almost certainly would not have done it.”

However, Mr. Agius said Mr. Stallone had demonstrated a “consciousness of guilt” by throwing the testosterone from the hotel.

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