Like drug trafficking | TIME ONLINE

Like drug trafficking | TIME ONLINE

The old anti-doping fight looked like this: A lot of money was spent on competition controls. In small containers, the athletes gave urine samples. Only a few were convicted. It was like fighting against in the fight drug trafficking to track down individual addicts. At least since Monday evening but a lot is different.

Policemen opposed the trade in steroids in 33 countries. 234 suspects have arrested them, crushed 17 criminal groups and secured nearly four million doping preparations and fake documents. 800 criminal cases have been initiated across Europe, most of them in Germany. "That's a new order of magnitude," says Fritz Sörgel, one of the most famous German doping researchers.

Doping investigations have shifted to another level, as the past few months have shown. The state becomes active. Police authorities work together across borders to expose doping networks. To do so, they use methods that were previously known mainly from drug raids: They shadow athletes, make phone calls, search rooms. This was the case with Operation Aderlass, in which at least 21 athletes flew open as customers of the doping physician Mark Schmidt through the cooperation of Austrian and German authorities. And so it was probably also in Operation Viribus, the largest anti-doping raid to date.

24 tons of anabolic steroids confiscated

"If you want to track down the structures and ways of the doping trade, you have to perform such actions, as was the case here," says Sörgel. It seems that the authorities are increasingly using their powers to tackle the distributors of doping substances. However, operations such as phlebotomy or Viribus are only possible through the anti-doping laws in several countries. Since the end of 2015, there is such a law in Germany. It is probably no wonder that Operation Viribus was initiated by Italy (together with Greece). Since 2000, the world's strictest anti-doping law applies there.

Of the police raid Not all details are yet known, presumably affecting mainly recreational sports. "The probability is great," said Ruth Haliti, the spokeswoman for the Cologne Customs Criminal Office, the German Press Agency. Cases of doping in professional sports are often discussed publicly. For example, bodybuilders in gyms dope much more often. The desire for the perfect body allows many amateur athletes to take pills or syringes. Over the past 20 years, the trade in anabolic steroids has grown significantly. The steroid powder, which has now been confiscated from 24 tons, reaches Germany via Asia or Eastern Europe, where it is processed into tablets or injectable solutions.

. (tagsToTranslate) Sports (t) Anti – doping raid (t) Razzia (t) Fritz Sörgel (t) Drug trafficking (t) Europe (t) Doping (t) Drug use

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