International cooperation leads to dismantling of an illicit laboratory and the seizure of 7.5 million doses of new psychoactive substances


Vienna - 6 October - The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) has taken note of an international operation led by Spanish authorities which resulted in the dismantling of a clandestine laboratory allegedly used for the illicit manufacture of new psychoactive substances (NPS), including synthetic cannabinoids, cathinones and non-medical synthetic opioids. The operation also resulted in the seizure of over 7.5 million doses of new psychoactive substances (NPS).

The investigation, underway since 2021, was coordinated by the Spanish Intelligence Center for Counter-Terrorism and Organized Crime in close collaboration with the United Kingdom Border Force, United Kingdom National Crime Agency, United States Customs and Border Protection, United States Drug Enforcement Administration, and the US Postal Inspection Service. Key information was exchanged among participating nations through the INCB's Global Rapid Interdiction of Dangerous Substances (GRIDS) Programme which ultimately led to the identification of the criminal network. This collaborative effort resulted in the dismantling of the illicit laboratory, the confiscation of manufacturing equipment, chemicals, cash, gold and cryptocurrency and to multiple arrests.

To evade detection, international postal and global express courier services were exploited to traffic the substances in low-weight shipments. As a result of the operation, authorities intercepted packages destined for various locations in Europe (France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Poland and the United Kingdom), as well as in Australia, New Zealand and the United States with backtracking investigations leading to the clandestine laboratory.

The President of the International Narcotics Control Board, Prof. Jallal Toufiq, commended the cooperation among the national authorities stating, "This is a welcome example of how international cooperation can safeguard public health and wellbeing by preventing dangerous new psychoactive substances from being manufactured and trafficked. Through the INCB GRIDS Programme, we will continue to support Member States in addressing trafficking in dangerous substances, including potentially fatal non-medical synthetic opioids, and related chemicals."

The INCB Global Rapid Interdiction of Dangerous Substances (GRIDS) Programme, launched by the Board in 2019, unites Project Ion, the global OPIOIDS Project and its Public-Private Partnership initiative to support Governments' capacity to respond to changing trafficking, illicit manufacture, marketing and sales of dangerous NPS, non-medical synthetic opioids and fentanyl-related substances by providing real-time communication, facilitating information exchange and intelligence development that support the interdiction of dangerous substances at the source.

©1995-2024 International Narcotics Control Board