Organised criminals arrested for illegal sale of Belgian medicines

Organised criminals arrested for illegal sale of Belgian medicines
Credit: Belga

During an action day on 20 September conducted by Europol, international police forces, and the Central Office against Environmental and Public Health Crime of the French Gendarmerie, 20 suspects involved in international drug trafficking were arrested. The organised criminal group was specialised in acquiring anti epilepsy and anxiety drug Pregabalin.

According to Europol, the criminal group traded in medicines gathered in France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Suspects were arrested in possession of fake Belgian identity documents.

Law enforcement agents from France, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland raided seven houses across France and Europe.

According to Europol, the organised group had been supplying the market with illegally acquired drugs since November 2020. By providing fake and stolen doctors’ prescriptions from all over France, the criminal group predominantly collected drugs from pharmacies in the French Rhone-Alpes region.

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Law enforcement was alerted by pharmacists of the suspicious activity of the group, who promptly launched an investigation into the criminal gang. Of the 20 people arrested, eight were taken into police custody, and five were jailed. Interrogations showed that the criminals regularly travelled across Europe illegally acquiring medicines.

“The illegally acquired drugs were sold on the local market, causing a recurrent threat to public health,” Europol said in a statement. “Illegal trade in either genuine, counterfeited, falsified or misused medicines is a grave public health concern and this has recently seen an increase, especially in the area of antiviral drugs… currently available to treated Covid-19.”

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