Police bust illicit medicine factories in Spain

A joint operation between the Spanish police and Europol has led to the shutdown of three facilities making illicit medicines, with more than 5m doses seized.

The operation, which took place mainly in Madrid, Valencia and Malaga, also resulted in 29 arrests. One of the individuals under investigation in connection with the case is Manuel Manchado, a Spanish bodybuilder and a former Mister Universe. In 2009, Manchado was convicted in Spain of steroid trafficking but avoided prison after paying a fine.

According to Europol, the criminal organization behind the activity was importing raw materials from China, manufacturing medicines in Spain and distributing them either domestically or internationally via the Netherlands.

It is understood that many of the seized medicines were illegal, unregistered drugs sold on the promise of helping bodybuilders bulk up, and included anabolic steroids, testosterone and/or growth hormone, with thousands of cartons of counterfeit or otherwise illegal cartons seized.

The gang were also involved in the illicit drug trade – along with seven litres of liquid testosterone, police also seized 42,500 doses of MDMA, 3,500 doses of LSD, 5,000 grams of crystal, 500 grams of ketamine, 9,000 grams of speed, various amounts of cocaine, heroin, hashish and marijuana and €35,000 in cash.

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