Europol has supported the Moldovan Customs and the Romanian Police (Poliția Română – DCCO) in taking down a criminal network producing and distributing illegal anabolic and counterfeit pharmaceuticals.

The network used popular social media influencers to promote fake performance-enhancing substances. 

The judicial side of the investigation, supported by Eurojust, was led by the Moldovan Prosecutor’s Office for Combating Organised Crime and Special Cases and the Prosecutors of the Directorate for the Investigation of Organised Crime and Terrorism.

Influential clients contribute to criminal activities worth EUR 1.5 million

The criminal network was found to be supplying a large number of clients across Romania and the European Union. The Romanian suspect had close ties with gyms in Romania, which the networks supplied with illegal goods. Some of their clients were well-known social media influencers with popular dietary and nutrition channels, as well as prominent entertainment personalities who often appeared in broadcast media.

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The suspects used instant messaging applications and dark web marketplaces to reach customers in other EU countries. To disguise the origin of the products, they used labels from famous e-commerce marketplaces to package the parcels. They then received payments in cryptocurrencies and used crypto-mixers to launder criminal assets. Based on Europol’s analysis and the information provided by the investigators, it is estimated that the criminal profits may have reached EUR 1.5 million.

Results of the action day on 29 March 2023: 

  • 37 house searches (22 in Moldova in the counties of Chisinau, Briceni, and Telenesti, and 15 in the counties of Iași, Bacău, Bucharest, Constanța and Sibiu in Romania);
  • 11 arrests in Romania (4 main organizers and 7 facilitators); 
  • Illegal lab dismantled and over 1 million pills found at the production site;
    • 42 liters of injectable anabolic steroids; 
    • 6.5 kg of various active powders;
    • 20 000 vials with multiple doses of Trenox, Trenbolone H, Boldenone, Primobolan, Testosterone, Masteron, Sustanon, and Clenbuterol; 
    • 28 000 vials Mastera, Tren Mix, Testoviron, Evogene, Stanoject;
    • 340 000 anabolic steroid tablets containing various products such as Danamed, Testomed, Decamed, Provimed, Anadrol, Stanobol, Dianabol, and Vikalis;
    • 433 syringes and 8 500 labels;
  • Assets seized include 5 cars, luxury watches, EUR 47 000, USD 15 000, over MDL 190 000, over ROL 40 000, luxury watches and precious stones, electronic equipment, two cryptos “cold” wallets, and bank cards.
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