The week of October 9 to 16, 2018, saw the inspection of nearly one million packages. 500 tons of illegal products were found, including anti-inflammatory drugs, anabolic steroids, HIV treatments, and pills for the treatment of erectile dysfunction. More than 110,000 medical equipment kits were also found (including syringes, contact lenses, and surgical instruments).
The Pangea XI operation brought together police, customs, and health authorities from 116 countries and actively targeted the online sale of drugs and pharmaceuticals. The result was the arrest of 859 individuals around the world, and the seizure of some $14 million worth of potentially dangerous products.
Figures in Freefall
While the number of packages seized in this year’s operation is higher than that of past years, the number of illicit drugs is much smaller. 51 million medications were seized in the tenth Pangea operation. According to Interpol Secretary-General Jürgen Stock, these figures are a result of the operation’s gradual effectiveness: “The coordinated actions of the police, customs and health agencies have forced criminals operating in line of drugs to change their modus operandi.”
Interpol coordinated Operation Pangea XI with assistance from the World Customs Organization (WCO), the Permanent Forum of International Pharmaceutical Crime (PFIPC), the Heads of Medicines Agencies Working Group of Enforcement Officers (WGEO), Europol, and the Pharmaceutical Security Institute (PSI). Interpol also counted Twitter, Facebook and payment card companies amongst its supporters.
Source: Interpol press release
Photo credit: Interpol