Connect with us

Cyber Crime

Medicines And Doping Substances Worth Over 40 Million Euro Seized In Global Crackdown



Medicines And Doping Substances Worth Over 40 Million Euro Seized In Global Crackdown

NEW DELHI: Europol has seized illegal medicines and drugs worth more than 40 million Euro. This was part of their third round of operation Shield, a global effort to stop the trafficking of fake and abused medicines and doping substances.

During the operation, law enforcement exposed 59 criminal groups and 349 suspects arrested or reported to judicial authorities.

At the same time, the authorities seized a huge amount of medicines that had been misused, falsified, or copied, as well as doping products and substances, illegal food and sports supplements, and fake COVID vaccines, sanitary products, and medical devices.

Some of the most common things taken were drugs for doping and medicines for erectile dysfunction.

According to the officials, more than 10.5 million units of drugs and doping substances were recovered. Over 1 million counterfeit COVID tests were seized, 10 underground labs and 89 websites were shut down.

The trade and consumption of drugs that are not prescribed by medical professionals or within a medical framework continue to constitute a social problem and fuel unlawful activity. Misuse extends from the desire for psychotropic, recreational, or performance-enhancing effects to inappropriate intake methods. This can lead to an increase in demand that cannot be lawfully met, which incentivizes trafficking, primarily involving goods diverted from the legal supply chain.

ALSO READ: Europol Arrests 31 For Stealing Cars By Hacking Keyless Technology

In addition, counterfeit medications are introduced into the supply chain of illegally diverted drugs. These are produced in subterranean laboratories where criminals work under questionable hygienic and safety conditions, posing a threat to the health of final consumers. Moreover, counterfeit medicines frequently lack the expected impact, leaving the patient untreated.

Organized crime makes money off of drug trafficking.

During the operation, many large-scale cases of medicine trafficking were found, showing that it can be as profitable as or even more profitable than drug trafficking.

While traffickers and counterfeiters make a lot of money from these crimes, the public finances and social care systems of some Member States pay a lot of money for them. The cost to public health is also high, whether it’s because of the treatment of addiction or the effects of overdoses or a lack of supplies.

ALSO READ: Two Operators Behind Hundreds Of Ransomware Attacks Arrested In Ukraine: Europol

Greece broke up an organised crime group.

The Greek Financial Police Division broke up a group of organised criminals that had a clear hierarchy and a long history of smuggling anabolic steroids and other illegal drugs like erectile dysfunction treatments. Members of this group were active in Greece and had smaller bases in Europe, the United States, and Asia.

Two labs in Greece were used to make different products from raw materials that were being sold through Moldova and Bulgaria. Websites and encrypted email addresses were used to sell to customers all over the world, including dozens of professional athletes.

A large-scale police operation led to the arrest of a key member of the organised crime group and the seizure of more than 2.4 million units of anabolic steroids and other illegal drugs, as well as packaging materials.

Trafficking related to COVID-19 has gone down a lot.

Even though criminal networks are still taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic, the trafficking of medicines and safety gear has gone down a lot because of how much attention the topic has gotten and how closely law enforcement is watching it. By giving the vaccines away for free, governments made it harder for criminals who wanted to feed an illegal market.

ALSO READ: Online Shopping Fraud: 59 Scammers Arrested By Europol For Cheating Shoppers

Several fraud attempts targeting national bodies responsible for the supply of medicines and protective devices could be detected and thwarted.

France, Greece, Italy, and Spain were in charge of the operation, and police and customs officials from 28 countries took part (19 EU Member States and 9 third-party countries).

The European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) was in charge of making sure the customs agencies worked well together, and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) helped with money.

The operation took place from April to October 2022. It was helped by Frontex, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the World Customs Organization (WCO), and national medicine agencies.

Follow on

 Telegram | Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Instagram | YouTube

Continue Reading