Spanish police bust illegal drug lab and online pharmacy operation

by Lorraine Williamson
online pharmacy

The Spanish National Police have successfully dismantled an illegal drug laboratory and online pharmacy operation, leading to the arrest of a couple involved in the illicit trade. The suspects were allegedly running a clandestine laboratory where they manufactured and distributed over 6,600 doses of illegal medications globally.

The investigation was initiated following information provided by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA alerted the Spanish National Police’s Cybercrime Unit about online sales managed from Spain, involving the global distribution of illegal drugs.

The main product promoted on their websites was a medication containing the active ingredient dutasteride. Although intended for prostate treatment, it was marketed by the suspects to prevent hair loss.

The suspects were found to have emerging markets in countries such as Mexico. Here, a shipment of 120 kg of vials resulted in a revenue of $72,000.

Offering unauthorised medications in Spain

Cybercrime experts discovered that the individuals behind the shipments operated three websites. Furthermore, they offered hundreds of medications, many of which were unauthorised in Spain. Some were prescription-only, even if authorised, but the suspects illegally supplied a multitude of drugs for various purposes. These included the following;

Cogesa Expats
  • cognitive enhancement
  • anti-aging
  • hair loss treatments
  • fat burners
  • peptides
  • mesotherapy substances
  • products for injury treatment
  • wound healing
  • vitamin supplements

Homemade sterilisation chamber in the lab

Police investigations revealed that the illicit activity was carried out by a couple residing in different municipalities in the province of Barcelona. The arrest was made possible after tracing the suspects and discovering a residence in the town of Gavá where they operated a makeshift laboratory.

Upon conducting a search and seizure at the residence, it was revealed that the lab contained a homemade sterilisation chamber, a centrifuge, a laminar flow hood, a labelling machine, and various materials for adapting medications—reusable vials, caps, empty capsules, packaging, and labels, among others.

Finally, coordinated searches at the suspects’ residences in Barcelona and Gavá, with the collaboration of experts from the Spanish Agency of Medicines and Medical Devices, led to the confiscation of various electronic devices, 6,616 doses of medications, laboratory machinery, and equipment. The operation concluded with the freezing of two bank accounts belonging to the detainees, who now face charges related to offenses against public health.

Also read: Woman arrested for illegal aesthetic treatments from home

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