N Ireland seizes over £100k of illicit and unauthorised medicines in global operation
June 13 2016
Drugs with a black market value exceeding £100,000 have been seized in Northern Ireland as part of the world-wide Operation Pangea IX.
During the week long operation, from May 30 to June 7, Northern Ireland saw tens of thousands of illegally imported and unauthorised medicines taken out of illicit online trade.
Packages were intercepted containing:
• 56,000 diazepam tablets
• 23,000 pregabalin tablets
• 2,000 tramadol tablets
• other medicines including steroids, erectile dysfunction tablets and anti-wrinkle injections.
The international operation was carried out by 193 authorities in 103 countries, with a dedicated operations centre based at INTERPOL’s General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon. Globally:
• 393 arrests were made
• more than 12 million medicinal items worth $50 million (around £35.5 million) were seized
• 4,932 websites engaging in illegal activity were shut down
• 334,000 suspicious packages were inspected, of which 170,340 were seized.
Northern Ireland’s new Health Minister Michelle O’Neill said: “The risk to the public due to illegal or counterfeit medicines is very real. This problem is not something we can tackle in isolation and my Department is committed to working with other agencies to stop the supply of illegal medicines over the internet.
“The type of collaborative work well demonstrated by Operation Pangea, has led to the interception and seizure of many illegal medicines destined for addresses throughout the north. The truth is that this might very well save lives, as sadly, young people are often unaware of the potentially fatal consequences of taking these unprescribed drugs, particularly when taken with alcohol.”