A drugs bust by Spanish police has uncovered a huge EPO ring, which saw criminals post performance enhancing drugs to athletes worldwide.
The Spanish Civil Guard have released details of a major operation that results in six arrests and 850 doses of the blood booster being recovered, the largest EPO bust in Europe.
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Those involved in the drug-supplying operation used at least seven web pages to offer EPO and other performance enhancing drugs to customers for at least the last 10 years, with authorities saying they expect a large number of national and international athletes to be implicated.
According to the Civil Guard, those involved had obtained the substances through a dialysis clinic in the city of Cádiz, southwestern Spain.
The operation was carried out in Barcelon and Cádiz, kickstarted after the Spanish Agency for the Protection of Health in Sport (AEPSAD) discovered that several athletes may have been purchasing banned substances through the internet.
Using domains such as ‘www.epobest.com’ the criminals offered doping products like hormones, steroids and EPO.
More than €800,000 (£670,000) in bank accounts and real estate property has been blocked, with more than €70,000 in cash being secured.
The operation was run by several Serbian citizens, one of whom was based in Barcelona.
To obtain the drugs, members of the network recruited another cell of Spanish citizens, who gathered the substances legally through the clinic.
They were then stored in a warehouse before being sent on to buyers.
It was in this warehouse that officers found 850 pre-filled EPO syringes and other medicines, without the proper storage or temperature.
Drugs were then sent throughout Europe through a variety of courier companies and were listed under false identities.
The operation was carried out by the public health and doping section of the Civil Guard, collaborating with various police forces and AEPSAD.