The ‘Operation Face Mask‘, carried out by the Civil Guard, has resulted in the seizure of more than 300,000 face masks that had expired since November 2014 and the arrest of 14 people. The ‘modus operandi’ of this network was based on changing the original packaging of these PPE where the expiration date was indicated.
Later, they put them in transparent bags where there was no date and then they would put them in in larger boxes, where the manufacturing or expiration date was no longer placed.
Other seized materials
Also, a lot of instrumental has also been found expired like gloves, medications, syringes, oxygen therapy equipment, or drain bottles. In the records, made in Valencia, Zaragoza, and Guipúzcoa, have been requisitioned 64,525 euros and 33 bank accounts have been blocked (In 16 of them, 80,000 euros have been blocked).
The Dtora. General @ Maria2Gamez presents the Op “Face Mask” to seize more than 300,000 expired masks since 2014
“This research becomes more relevant because it was produced at a time of great demand for sanitary material where there was difficulty in acquiring it” pic.twitter.com/CEHGHnAXmZ
– Guardia Civil 🇪🇸 (@guardiacivil) July 15, 2020
Maria Gamez, director of the Benemérita, has confirmed that the detainees are charged crimes against public health, money laundering, fraud, documentary falsehood and membership in a criminal organization.
Gámez has also highlighted the size of this operation: “This research becomes even more relevant because it took place in a moment of great demand for sanitary material and where there was difficulty in acquiring it. “
Posing as commission agents
Once the detainees they had the sanitary material in the ships located at different points in Valencia, it was distributed by various locations in Spain. For it, posing as commission agents and thus selling the products. Sometimes they provided invalid certificates from other countries and other times they did not correspond or counterfeit licenses.
They did not distribute to pharmacies
So as not to raise too much suspicion, preferred to distribute the masks to companies for your employees to use. Also, They avoided distributing them in pharmacies, since there is greater control, both packaging and supporting documentation of the product that was put on sale to the public.