- Throughout Europe, investigators ensured a record-breaking amount of doping drugs in a raid: according to Europol so far 3.8 million drugs and counterfeit drugs, plus 24 tons of steroid powder.
- Investigators arrested 234 suspects (none in Germany), instituted 839 cases (463 in Germany), exposed 17 criminally organized gangs and detained nine underground laboratories (including none in Germany).
- The raid was directed mainly against recreational athletes.
- Basically, the numbers are not more than a blueprint for the fight against doping that prosecutors and investigators have been conducting for years.
It was an impressive pharmacy show that investigators from various European countries presented on Tuesday, in Italy, France, Belgium, Hungary. Photographs showed masked investigators hitting a door on a red-plastered, inconspicuous apartment building that apparently contained a doping kitchen. There were shelves in the rooms of underground laboratories, and the pillboxes piled up in the compartments. In other photos, police officers exposed dozens of ampoules and specimens they had previously confiscated in raids. Operation "Viribus" the investigators had christened the venture, in the course of which they had promoted all this, probably based on a classic from the Latin and history lessons: Viribus Unitis, join forces.
The global sport is again in the sights of a cross-border anti-doping raid – about half a year after "Operation Aderlass", which was directed against a resident in Erfurt blood doping ring in elite sports. So now "Operation Viribus". The dedicated to the state of things, especially those dark channels through which tons of prohibited substances in the fitness and mass sports market are pumped. European investigators had been researching from mid-January to late April in 33 countries and have now struck; an important hub of the drug couriers was in Vienna, as Austrian authorities announced.
According to Europol, the European police force under whose flag "Viribus" runs, investigators have so far secured 3.8 million drugs and fake medicines, plus 24 tons (!) Steroid powder. They arrested 234 suspects (none in Germany), instituted 839 cases (463 in Germany), exposed 17 criminally organized gangs and removed nine underground laboratories (including none in Germany). This operation, Europol said, is the largest of its kind so far.
Top-class sport is again involved, albeit on the sidelines
And the top sport is involved again, albeit on the sidelines. The World Anti-Doping Agency has contributed "practical support and information," she said. Most of it may have happened under the direction of Günter Younger, once an investigator in the Bavarian State Office of Criminal Investigation and Interpol; He now heads the Wada Investigation Department and continues to be well networked in state circles. Operations like "Viribus," Younger said in a first message, "produce real results and can significantly affect the availability and distribution of illegal drugs used by athletes worldwide." What Younger politely spared: that such criminological excavations are usually more effective than all the discreet blood and urine tests that organized sport relies on. Whereupon in the course of the operation now probably also some suspicions in the high-tech sector revealed: It had taken 1357 blood and urine samples of athletes, Europol said. Who, when and where was tested and above all: how failed the tests, the authority initially made no information.
These are impressive numbers presented by the investigators. But basically, they do not stand for more than a – of course massive – blueprint of those anti-doping controls that investigators have been leading for a long time. About 80 percent of these procedures are for recreational and recreational sports, connoisseurs, ten percent of the pharmacy needs, at best five top athletes – even if the often attracts the most attention with its few cases. The majority of the clientele are certainly others: fitness and endurance athletes, bodybuilders. Driven by the desire for a stronger or more profiled body, after recognition or a little prize money at the Volkstriathlon around the corner. And demand is booming: "Over the past 20 years, global trade in anabolic steroids has increased dramatically," Europol said. The Nuremberg pharmacologist Fritz Sörgel said two years ago: "As is well known, the doping scene is now considered more lucrative than the drug scene."
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