2 September 2015
At least nineteen underground drug labs (UGLs) have been closed down so far in an ongoing global operation.
Three of the labs are in the UK, where the NCA is coordinating the response with the US Drug Enforcement Agency, police forces, and UK Anti-Doping.
The UK activity includes:
Worldwide, the operation to date has resulted in the arrest of at least 99 individuals and the closure of 19 underground steroid labs. Intelligence from the US has been disseminated to 15 countries, highlighting the global nature of the trade in steroids, manufacturing ingredients and equipment.
The coordinated activity is a response to the threat to the public from the unregulated, low quality, performance enhancing drugs produced by these criminal labs.
The NCA has also deployed its specialist illicit drug lab team to support UK partners on the ground. Underground laboratories can be highly hazardous environments, with large amounts of volatile chemicals stored improperly and the potential of explosions causing death, injury and significant damage to property.
The NCA and its partners are appealing to members of the public to report suspected UGLs in their area to the police non-emergency number, 101. Potential signs of an UGL can be:
Lawrence Gibbons of the National Crime Agency’s Organised Crime Command said:
“This operation highlights the close collaboration between the NCA, local police forces and our international partners in investigating the criminal networks profiting at the expense of people’s safety.
“While underground drug laboratories sound like something out of a TV show, the damage these labs can cause to the public both from the drugs that they produce and their potential to explode catastrophically, is very real.”
Nicole Sapstead, Chief Executive, UK Anti-Doping said:
“Global and local partnerships are essential to achieving the closure of unhygienic and unregulated production sites and the punishment of people who have no regard for the lives of the end user.
“Athletes or gym users - today's events should demonstrate the risk you take if you buy and use non prescribed drugs to cheat in sport or fake a healthy body. You could be permanently harmed or die as a result of a bad decision and the criminal activity of others.”