Belgium: Pharma execs accused of supplying Mexican drug baron

EPA/CHRISTAKIS GEORGE

According to media reports the Mexican drug baron received at least four tones of ephedrine from the Belgian companies, between 2006 and 2011, which could have been used to make as much as 66 million capsules of the drug, with an estimated street value of 360 million euros

Seven top executives at three Belgian pharmaceutical giants are accused of supplying medicines containing ephedrine to Ezio Figueroa Vazquez who used the drugs to produce crystal meth


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Belgian prosecutors opened a case against seven top executives at three Belgian pharmaceutical corporations over the supply of drugs to Mexican drug baron Ezio Figueroa Vazquez.

The pharma execs are accused of supplying to Vasquez medicines based on ephedrine, helping him to produce crystal meth, a highly addictive and widely banned narcotic also known as methamphetamine.

According to Reuters, the Belgian media reported that the Mexican drug baron received at least four tones of ephedrine from the Belgian companies, between 2006 and 2011, which could have been used to make as much as 66 million capsules of the drug, with an estimated street value of 360 million euros.

Eric Van Der Sypt, a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office, told journalists that the inquiry into the pharma execs started in 2009 based on information from Belgian police and customs officials. The spokesman didn’t name the companies implicated or the identities of the executives involved in the alleged illegal trade. However, Der Sypt said that the Belgian authorities asked all seven execs “to be referred to court and the decision will be made on April 5.”

According to Belga news agency, all the companies involved claim that they didn’t know the final destination of the pills they sold. However, due to the inquiry which examined email and telephone exchanges, the prosecutor believes that the companies knew who the buyer of the drugs was.

Reuters reported that a spokesman for Sterop, a small Brussels-based pharmaceutical group, said that it was one of the companies involved in the case but added it had been tricked by intermediaries and had done nothing wrong.

Moreover, lawyers for Belgian pharmaceutical wholesaler Andacon said it also was part of the case but they insisted that the firm had acted in good faith. “The company made two shipments of two million pills containing pseudoephedrine in 2006,” Bram Van Loo told the Belga news agency and added. “These medicines were freely available then. My clients delivered to a reliable commercial partner and had no idea of the inappropriate use of the drugs.”

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