10/27/2011 10:45 EDT | Updated 12/27/2011 05:12 EST

Former Olympic weightlifting champion detained over alleged cocaine smuggling

SOFIA, Bulgaria - Bulgaria's foreign ministry says former Olympic weightlifting champion Galabin Boevski has been detained in Sao Paulo, Brazil, with nine kilograms of cocaine in his luggage.

The ministry said in a statement Thursday that the Bulgarian embassy to Brazil has been informed by federal police that Boevski tried to board a plane at Sao Paulo's international airport on Monday with the cocaine in his luggage.

The 36-year-old Boevski won gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympics in the 69-kilogram category, but was banned for eight years by the International Weightlifting Federation for doping in 2004.

If found guilty in Brazil, he could face up to 15 years in prison.