Pills seized in Interpol operation..
(photo credit: CUSTOMS AUTHORITY)
Tax Authority and Health Ministry inspectors, with help from Interpol, seized 40,000 counterfeit pills and packages containing drugs, powders and liquids suspected of being fake on Monday.
If authentic, some of these products may be sold only with a doctor’s prescription, while others were anabolic steroids whose import is illegal. The 11 packages in the authorities’ haul contained cocaine-like drugs, hashish, designer drugs, marijuana and marijuana seeds.
The effort was part of Interpol’s Operation Pangea 8 campaign held in June in 115 countries to scan the Internet and raid establishments, seize counterfeit drugs, arrest violators and close illicit websites. Interpol reported that a record 20.7 million fake and illicit medicines were seized around the world; they included blood pressure medication, erectile dysfunction pills, cancer medications and nutritional supplements worth a total of $81 million.
The Tax Authority said that as part of the Pangea 8 campaign, it checked 1,400 packages that reached the ports and border crossings, send by sea, air and land. They used sophisticated means to detect illegal products such as customs profiling. Those that were suspect were delayed by ministry pharmacists and others from its enforcement branch.
Operation Pangea, under the aegis of the World Customs Organization, was launched in 2008 by eight countries, including Israel. Since then, there have been seven earlier campaigns in which more than 100 additional countries participating.
The aim is to prevent the import, export and marketing of counterfeit, stolen and smuggled drugs and to increase public awareness of the dangers in purchasing such drugs.