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Spain continues its crackdown on doping, with the arrest of 26 people belonging to “the largest international organization operating in Spain dedicated to drug trafficking, growth hormone and doping substances.” Among those arrested is the manger of a master's class cycling team.
According to the Spanish national police, the organization had products sent from suppliers in China, India and Turkey to brokers and wholesalers in the UK, German and Hungary. The raid found a lab and storeroom in Elche, Spain, where human growth hormone was manufactured for sale on the internet.
A total of 700,000 doses of different illegal drugs and 10,000 vials of growth hormone were seized. The doping products are said to include EPO and erectile dysfunction drugs.
The investigation was opened last July into the import and distribution of illegal products. The first arrests were of seven UK citizens, who were “leading members of the network. Six houses were searched, turning up “close to 400,000 tablets and vials, as well as several thousand vials of injectable hormones that would have reported a profit of over three and a half million Euros.”
The next series of arrests included the general director of a popular cycling team, on which are inscribed several former world and European champions.” The only identification given was that it was a masters' class team.
“The arrest occurred when receiving a significant number of Epoetin alfa, a substance known as EPO,” the police said.
Following these arrests, the police took action against six individuals in Elche, searched another eight houses, followed by another five arrests. One of the homes searched had a laboratory to transform the “generic” bulk HGH from Chino to a “commercial” product to be sold online.