Dismantled a network that administered EPO to athletes between 35 and 50 years old

They placed orders from web pages and received injectable EPOs diverted from the legal circuit in their homes

The Civil Guard intervened an illegal marketing network for the substance, which could pocket 1,5 million euros in three years

Cyclists, athletes, motocross riders, boxers, canoeists… Almost all of them veteran athletes, aged between 35 and 50 years.

As reported by Voice of GaliciaThis is the profile of the list of up to 275 clients of an Erythropoietin (EPO) traffic network dismantled by the Civil Guard and that, in just three years, could pocket 1,5 million euros.

Spanish and foreign clients, some of whom were active in professional categories, who placed their orders from web pages and who received EPO injectables at home deviated from the legal circuit, with the consequent fraud to public health.

Hypoxianet operation

Responsible for the Public Health and Doping Section of the Central Operational Unit (UCO) of the Civil Guard explained to Efe the development of the operation «Hypoxianet», Name that they wanted to put to unite hypoxia (lack of oxygen) with the internet, the medium where the network offered the substance that, administered without control, can cause a serious risk to consumer health.

With EPO, more oxygen enters the blood and, therefore, reduces fatigue and increases performance, but as the blood becomes denser and has difficulty circulating through the capillaries, the risk of having a stroke or heart attack increases .

 The operation began when in the contacts that researchers usually have with different actors in the world of sports, someone mentioned a web page, the name of which had come out precisely in other investigations, although marginally

Orders on web pages in various countries

The orders were made through web pages with hosted servers in countries like Iceland o Russia or in tax havens like New Jersey.

Orders from 150 to 3.000 €

From 150 euros the injectable less load (measured in international units and the most common is 2.000 units) until 400 euros was what they charged customers, which in some case rplaced orders of up to 3.000 euros, so it is not ruled out that their destination was the doping of some complete sports team.

Athletes who want access to these doping substances choose the injectable with less load because they better manage the dose to be injected, which they mix with iron (also injectable) to enhance the action of EPO. For this reason, the dismantled network also met that demand.

This organization had other web pages to offer anabolics with different charges and prices. All a well organized catalog, but that did not mix with the EPO offer.

How did they act?

The "modus operandi" to create the injectables was not very complicated, as the researchers from the UCO Section of Public Health and Doping explain.

Sergio was the person in charge of administration in a private dialysis clinic in Cádiz, arranged with Social Security and authorized to dispense Erythropoietin to patients who need this treatment (1.000 international units generally) after the dialysis session.

The sick came to her with the wheel of public health and Sergio was in charge of ordering the injectables from a hospital in Cádiz. But it inflated them — yes, with measure »- and diverted some for illegal trafficking.

An activity that was carried out behind the back of the multinational company that owns the clinic, which has collaborated with the Civil Guard to clarify the case and has even asked it for advice to prevent illegal actions of this type in other companies and entities it manages.

When the injectables arrived from the hospital to the clinic, Sergio took the ones he had inflated and transferred them to a warehouse, where they were stacked without the necessary measures to keep them at the low temperature that keeps them in good condition. Failure to do so can cause serious damage.

10 years of activity

The total number of injectables with which the network has been able to traffic in an entire decade is not known, but it is known for the last three years of illegal activity, in which 5.300 injectables were distracted.

If we multiply them by an average of between 250 or 300 euros, the organization was able to obtain almost 1,5 million euros.

This trafficking in doping substances is not very punished in the Penal Code, but the ringleaders have been charged with other crimes, such as membership in a criminal organization, money laundering, misappropriation or fraud in Social Security, among others.

In any case, it can be said that the Civil Guard has dealt a serious blow to this illicit traffic, with the largest seizure of EPO, with six detainees and / or investigated, with the blocking of more than 800.000 euros in various accounts and with the apprehension of 70.000 euros in cash.

The UCO investigates the 275 clients

Now, the UCO agents continue to analyze the list of the 275 "clients" (none very famous) and retract the documentation intervened in an operation in which it has had the support of police from Austria, Cyprus, France, Italy, Republic Slovak and UK. And, of course, the Spanish agencies of Medicines and Health Products and Health Protection in Sport, among other organizations


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