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Preparations seized: unauthorised or prescription medicines

Photo: Customs

In the Hydra investigation, the Central Office for Cybercrime Bavaria (ZCB) has brought charges against Lutz D. The investigators accuse him, among other things, of joint trafficking in medicines in almost 477,000 cases and attempted commercial smuggling in around 475,000 cases. SPIEGEL reported on the case last year.

According to investigators, the 41-year-old D. is said to have built up a company construct over Singapore, Hong Kong, the British Virgin Islands and Munich from 2013 onwards. In addition, he is said to have operated a worldwide illegal trade in prescription drugs with other, partly still unknown accomplices via the Singapore hub.

He himself denied this last year, calling the allegations "speculative". Through his lawyer, he explained at the time that the very question of whether he saw himself as "one of the largest illegal drug dealers in the world" was "absurd and absurd". A distinction must be made between the roles of logistician and salesman, the latter is not. In addition, he had not violated any local law in Singapore.

Potency and weight loss pills, antibiotics and anti-cancer drugs traded

Specifically, in the more than 400-page indictment, the investigators accuse Lutz D. of having shipped illegal, unapproved or prescription drugs worldwide in the period between 2017 and 2020 in cooperation with other organizations in response to corresponding customer orders. During this period, D. is said to have made a profit of more than nine million euros.

Together with Frederik B., who is also accused, Lutz D. is also said to have operated several online shops, through which the two men are also said to have illegally sent medicines. According to the indictment, a total of more than 4,000 mailings are said to have occurred in the same period.

A total of more than 588 million pieces of medicines are said to have been shipped via the company construct. Primarily, it is said to have been potency and weight loss pills, antibiotics and anti-cancer drugs.

Imprisonment of one to ten years possible

This was preceded by extensive investigations by the Munich Customs Investigation Office and the CCB, which is affiliated with the Bamberg Public Prosecutor's Office, together with investigative authorities in Spain, England and the United States of America as well as Europol. Lutz D. and Frederik B. had already been arrested in October 2020 and later released on bail, and investigators had also secured assets worth 1.2 million euros.

A commercial criminal chamber of the Munich I Regional Court must now decide on the admission of the indictment and the opening of the main proceedings. For illicit trafficking in medicines, the law provides for a prison sentence of one to ten years in particularly serious cases.

Interpol has already shut down around 200,000 web shops

The sale of counterfeit and unapproved medicines is a billion-dollar business. Since 2008, Interpol has been coordinating investigative measures against the illegal Internet trade in medicines as part of the annual "Pangea" action week. In 2022, officials from 94 countries seized more than three million individual units. At the request of SPIEGEL, Interpol said that investigators have been able to shut down around 200,000 dodgy web shops since the start of the operation.

The webshops listed in the arrest warrant have now been shut down, and D.'s Singaporean companies have been liquidated. But the illegal drug trade on the Internet continues even without Lutz D.: With just a few clicks, searchers can find offers such as "Order generic sexual enhancers without a prescription, safely and discreetly online".