News out of Spain is that already embattled IFBB professional bodybuilder Manual Manchado Lopez is going to be charged with illegal steroid production and distribution after his arrest on June 19 of 2018.
No stranger to scandal, Lopez was in the past connected to a major steroid bust – Operation Reaparecer – that had 29 other athletes and individuals charged with major crimes. That investigation was the result of a one year probe in the illegal steroid production of Spartam “brand” drugs, and it looks like Lopez hasn’t learned from his previous run in with the law.
The Reaparecer investigation involved law enforcement agencies from all around the world, including the Europol and Spanish National Police. After a number of smaller busts were made, the law enforcement agencies started to realize something much larger was beneath the surface, and that’s when they sent in undercover agents.
A long investigation followed, and at the conclusion police were able to shut down multiple underground laboratories and distribution networks all over Spain – networks that weren’t just moving drugs nationally, but were sending them to international clients as well.
15 separate homes were raided, and nearly 5 million dosages of steroids were seized along the way. Other drugs and controlled substances were confiscated, too. This included more than seven liters of injectible steroids, 42,000 dosages of MDMA, 3500 dosages of LSB, and piles of crystal meth, ketamine, heroin, and a slew of other drugs.
Lopez was always thought to be right in the thick of things, one of the three main culprits for putting this ring together. Right at the top of the network, he worked with two other partners to corner the market in the bodybuilding world they were involved in and then started to branch out from there.
Lopez himself was responsible primarily for the anabolic steroid distribution, leaving the other drugs and controlled substances to be handled by his partners. The overwhelming majority of the steroids he sold were Spartam steroids, most often to fellow athletes and bodybuilders like himself. He worked with a boots on the ground approach to finding new clients in commercial gyms and fitness centers around Spain, and even had a whole host of private clients and “wholesalers” that were buying major quantities of the drugs from him directly.
Video data and digital data recovery techniques were instrumental in the investigation into Lopez and his trafficking ring. Lopez was caught a number of times on camera distributing the drugs themselves, especially when he would visit with his customers in Madrid.
Police found evidence that Lopez was branching out and shipping his drugs as far away as the Netherlands, too, which is when they decided to swoop in and bottle the whole network up before it could grow any larger than it already had.
As we made mention of above, Lopez had already been arrested previously for the distribution and possession of illegal steroids. He was even sentenced to two years in a federal prison for his role in Operation Mazas, an op than showed Lopez to be at the very center of the illegal drug distribution activity at that time.
He was selling his drugs out of his own gym and fitness center, a facility that he had started up because of the new found noterity he had begun to win as a professional bodybuilder.
The short in stature professional had won numerous contests in 2003, and had been active in the professional every since. He will have his date in court, though no dates have been defined as of yet.
Source: Martinez, J. (June 19, 2018). Detenido un Míster Universo español en una macrooperación contra el tráfico de anabolizantes. Retrieved from lasprovincias.es/sucesos/detenido-mister-universo-anabolizantes-20180619124035-nt.htm