116 countries, 859 arrests; Interpol makes a grand seizure of 500 tonnes of illicit drugs

Interpol, based in the French city of Lyon, said an operation codenamed Pangea XI had led to 859 arrests worldwide and the seizure of some $14 million worth of potentially dangerous pharmaceuticals.
Workers test seized cocaine to be destroyed at a police base in Lima, Peru, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. Police say they burned about 25 tons of drugs, including cocaine, marijuana, opium and extasis pills that have been seized over the last four months. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)(AP)
Workers test seized cocaine to be destroyed at a police base in Lima, Peru, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. Police say they burned about 25 tons of drugs, including cocaine, marijuana, opium and extasis pills that have been seized over the last four months. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)(AP)
Updated on Oct 23, 2018 05:15 PM IST
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Paris | ByReuters

Coordinated police raids in 116 countries have netted 500 tonnes of illicit pharmaceuticals available online, including fake cancer medications, counterfeit pain pills and illegal medical syringes, the Interpol police organisation said on Tuesday.

Interpol, based in the French city of Lyon, said an operation codenamed Pangea XI had led to 859 arrests worldwide and the seizure of some $14 million worth of potentially dangerous pharmaceuticals.

“Focusing on delivery services manipulated by organised criminal networks, the operation saw 3,671 web links closed down, including websites, social media pages, and online marketplaces,” the organisation said.

The illegal drug trade on the internet - and in particular on what’s known as the Dark Web - has been growing in recent years, despite authorities shutting down major market sites, as crime gangs have diversified and sought out new clients online.

It is the second significant drugs bust made by Interpol this month.

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