A FORMER Olympic sprinter has revealed how his career unravelled when a friend used his flat as a cocaine lab.
Leon Reid, 28, said he felt deceived and betrayed by pal Romaine Hyman, 31, after being sentenced following a drugs bust.
The talented sportsman once represented Ireland at the 2021 Olympic games, reaching the semi-finals of the 200m.
But he was given a suspended sentence in February last year after being found guilty of allowing his flat to be used for the production of crack cocaine.
Speaking out about his ordeal, Reid told Sky News: “I put my trust in someone and an old training partner, an old friend.
“I feel like I’ve got really taken advantage of, especially when I was at the height of my career.”
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Running for Northern Ireland, his major event debut came in 2018 where he scooped Bronze at the Commonwealth Games.
By 2020 he was preparing for the Olympics in Tokyo but had to change his routine after he was delayed by the pandemic.
Lockdown saw him come back to England, returning to a flat in Bristol that he was subletting to a friend.
Reid maintains while he was out training, Romaine was using the flat to produce crack cocaine.
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And he insists that the first he knew about it was when cops arrived.
In May 2020, Reid was arrested as part of an operation led by the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit, taking down an encrypted communications service.
The former Olympic star said: “It’s obviously really upsetting.
“It’s been everything I’ve tried to get away from my whole life (drugs) and getting put back into that sort of that circle, it was just nothing that I had ever dreamed that I’d ever be involved in, ever.”
While awaiting trial, he was still able to go to the Olympics – after appealing against an Irish deselection decision – and made the 200m semi-finals in Tokyo in 2021.
But his trial last year saw a conviction for allowing his flat to be used for the production of cocaine and receiving payment, which text messages showed to be £500.
Reid was ordered to carry out community service while Hyman was jailed for 26 years after being found guilty of 18 offences in the crackdown on his attempt to build a drugs empire.
“I was there training for the Olympics. I was at the peak of my career,” Reid recalled.
“I wasn’t really focused on my friend. He was doing his work-out in the apartment, which obviously he said it was forex trading and things like that, which I’ve got no interest in.”
And Reid said his one-time friend was “making sure I was out of the apartment” before cooking drugs.
‘DESTROYED MY CAREER’
He continued: “I was on a WADA drug list, so even if I touched a door handle that did have traces of drugs on, I would get a positive drug test and I would fail that, and I would lose my career. So I was in no position to risk that on any scale.”
Reid maintains he was “too nonchalant about the whole situation” while doing a favour for a friend, insisting: “I didn’t need the money.”
He had gained status, sponsors and success which all abandoned him after his conviction.
A return to the Commonwealth Games was also blocked last year when he was deemed a security risk by Birmingham organisers.
A regretful Reid said: “It destroyed my career. And also my reputation.”
Now, he hopes to use his misfortune to help those still in professional sport by forming a mentoring business.
“I fought my demons of the past two years,” Reid says.
“I’ve had the no sleep nights and the cry myself to sleep. But now I’m looking forward to the future.”
Source: Athletics - thesun.co.uk