By John Ensor •
Published: 04 Oct 2023 • 17:11
Stock image of National Police Officer.
Credit: PP Photos/Shutterstock.com
The Spanish authorities has uncovered a network that sheds light on the world of illegal sports enhancement.
On a recent operation, the National Police cracked down on a major criminal group operating out of Valencia. This group, consisting of 12 individuals, was heavily involved in the distribution of anabolic drugs and money laundering across the country.
The core of this illicit operation was based in Valencia, with distribution points scattered across cities like Madrid, Barcelona, Girona, Albacete, Murcia, Sevilla, Tenerife, and Las Palmas.
During the raids, authorities confiscated 6,700 doses of performance-enhancing substances, 11 parcels containing illegal drugs, and a sum of cash. These drugs were primarily sourced from Portugal, Bulgaria, and the Netherlands.
The group had developed an intricate infrastructure for storing and dispatching these substances across the nation using commercial parcel services.
The investigation was triggered last year after several suspicious commercial packages were tracked to the town of Xativa in Valencia. These parcels, originating from bogus firms in Portugal, were linked to a key figure in the criminal network. This individual, along with his associates, was responsible for distributing the anabolic drugs.
Investigators found a stash of these drugs in a Xativa residence, which served as both a storage and distribution point. The group employed various tactics to evade detection. They frequently changed the sender’s details on the parcels and used multiple payment methods, including transferring money to relatives or overseas bank accounts.
The primary consumers of these illegal substances were individuals associated with amateur and semi-professional sports, fitness nutrition, and personal training. These individuals often recommended and supplied the drugs to their peers.
Throughout the investigation, officers identified individuals importing the drugs from countries like Portugal, Belgium, and the Netherlands. All 12 suspects were apprehended and charged with being part of a criminal organisation, public health violations, and money laundering.
Two of them are now behind bars. The police also conducted searches in an Alicante gym and two sports nutrition shops in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Among the items seized were 6,700 doses of anabolics, 11 commercial parcels with illegal drugs, €1,800 concealed in a package, a luxury car, six mobile phones, and a computer.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
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