March 2, 2021

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Operation Pangea: Europol dismantles criminal gangs selling coronavirus medicine, surgical masks

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Original Post from Security Affairs
Author: Pierluigi Paganini

Operation Pangea is the name of a joint international operation lead by the Interpol that seized €13 million in counterfeit drugs for care

The Coronavirus outbreak is sustaining an unprecedented demand in hygiene products, surgical masks, and drugs that could care the COVID infection.

The Europol announced the result of an international operation, dubbed Operation Pangea, has brought together police from over 90 countries in a bid to stem a rising flood of criminal enterprises relating to COVID-19. 

The Europan agency has seized €13 million in drugs that were illegally offered for sale to users concerned about the Coronavirus outbreak. 

Operation Pangea was the result of the collaboration of police from over 90 countries.

“Europol has supported a global operation to target trafficking counterfeit medicines. Operation Pangea, coordinated by INTERPOL and involved 90 countries worldwide, took place between 3 and 10 March 2020.” reads the press release published by the Europol. “The results of the operation reveal a worrying increase in unauthorised antiviral medications and the antimalarial chloroquine. Vitamin C, known for its immune-boosting properties, and other food supplements have been seized around the world. Painkillers and antibiotics also represented a significant portion of the seizures.”

Operation Pangea took place between March 3 and 10, 2020, the authorities dismantled 37 organized crime groups attempting to illegally sell counterfeit surgical masks, unauthorised antiviral medications and the antimalarial chloroquine, Vitamin C, food supplements, painkillers, and antibiotics.

Police seized nearly 34 000 counterfeit surgical masks and identified more than 2 000 links to products related to COVID-19. 

Law enforcement officers inspected 326,000 packages and seized 48,000, 4.4 million illegal drug packets and medications. 

Below the operation in numbers reported by the Europol:

  • 121 arrests;
  • €13 million in potentially dangerous pharmaceuticals seized; 
  • 326 00 packages inspected;
  • 48 000 packages seized;
  • 4.4 million units of illicit pharmaceuticals seized worldwide;
  • 37 000 unauthorised and counterfeit medical devices seized (mostly surgical masks and self-testing kits for HIV and glucose monitoring);
  • 2 500 links taken down (websites, social media, online marketplaces, adverts);
  • 37 organised crime groups dismantled.

The above list also includes a range of counterfeit self-testing kits for HIV and glucose monitoring.

The operation is still ongoing.

When the Coronavirus outbreak began I made interesting research on products related to COVID19 in the dark web, you can read it here:

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Coronavirus, Europol)

The post Operation Pangea: Europol dismantles criminal gangs selling coronavirus medicine, surgical masks appeared first on Security Affairs.

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Author: Pierluigi Paganini

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