Spanish police have taken part in an international drug operation

Spanish police have taken part in an international drug operation

SPANISH police have taken part in an international operation that has seen 3.8 million doping substances and fake medicines seized.

Operation Viribus was targeting illegal suppliers of such substances as anabolic steroids used by athletes and bodybuilders to build muscle mass and reduce body fat.

They can have dangerous side effects, including raised risk of heart attacks and other health problems.

During the operation, which was led by Italian police and involved 33 countries, 17 criminal groups were broken up, nine underground labs dismantled, 234 suspects arrested and nearly 1,000 people reported for the production, commerce or use of doping substances.

Europol deployed five experts and mobile offices to Hungary and Spain to crosscheck in real-time the data gathered during the course of the operation and provide forensic support.

Experts from Europol’s Intellectual Property Crime Coordinated Coalition, funded by the European Union Intellectual Property Office, also supported the activities through open source intelligence reports on websites and accounts trafficking doping materials.

The pharmaceutical industry cooperated providing intelligence through the Pharmaceutical Security Institute.

The following countries participated in Operation Viribus: 23 Member States (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, the United Kingdom) and 10 third-party countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Iceland, North Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Switzerland, Ukraine and the USA)

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