A CACHE of prohibited medicines has been seized in a joint operation between Spain´s Guardia Civil and the National Police according to a release from the Guardia Civil on January 29.
Operation MAZINGER was set up in early 2015 when an international alert warned that banned drugs seized in Belgium were en route to Spain.
Initial investigations revealed an international distribution network linked to a Spanish criminal gang with members in different parts of the country.
Irregular activities such as receiving large foreign shipments of equipment for producing medications, as well as their main active ingredients, amplified suspicions that illegal drugs including anabolic products were being produced in an unauthorised way.
Since the operation began, police have searched 28 homes and other premises in Malaga, Alicante and Murcia, arresting 37 people and seizing 70,000 doses of illegal medicines in addition to 120 kilos of diverse substances, including steroids, hormones and sexual enhancers.
Of those active ingredients used to produce the medicines, investigators established that most were acquired in countries from the East of Europe and Asia and did not meet the high health and sanitary standards of European regulatory bodies.
Gang members are reported to have worked from different locations including a phone company, a messenger franchise and a real estate agency, with one of the group, who acted as head of the gang´s laboratory, supposedly licenced in chemistry.
The gang´s leaders were also detained during police raids and despite a sophisticated system to conceal their involvement, which involved holding assets abroad, sending encrypted emails and using high security messaging applications, officers were surprised to find one boss sporting a neck tattoo depicting one of his prohibited products.