PortandTerminal.com, July 1, 2020
While there are media reports that the drugs are manufactured by ISIS, many suspect that they are really manufactured by Syria’s Bashar al Assad regime
ROME – Italy has made the world’s largest seizure of amphetamines, police say. Fourteen tonnes of an amphetamine-type drug, made by the so-called Islamic State group in Syria, was found in southern Italy.
The haul is worth about €1 billion ($1.13 billion) and came in the form of 84 million captagon tablets, according to a police statement released on Wednesday.
The drugs were found in three containers in the Port of Salerno, south of Naples, and hidden in paper cylinders.
“This is the largest seizure of amphetamines in the world,” police said.
The tablets were marked with the logo captagon, a brand name of a drug that the American Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) says is widely used by ISIS.
Captagon was originally the brand name for a drug containing the stimulant fenethylline hydrochloride, used as a medication for pain relief in the Middle East in the 90s.
Police said the drug is used by ISIS combatants to “inhibit fear and pain”. Dubbed the “Jihad drug”, it was used in the Paris Bataclan attacks in November 2015, police said.
Investigators said the haul is likely linked to a “consortium” of criminal groups, as no single dealer could afford a €1 billion purchase.
While there are media reports that the drugs are manufactured by ISIS, many suspect that they are really manufactured by Syria’s Bashar al Assad regime.
Pill of the Jihadists
Captagon, the trademark name for the synthetic stimulant fenethylline, was first produced in the 1960s to treat hyperactivity, narcolepsy and depression, but was banned in most countries by the 1980s as too addictive. It remains hugely popular in the Middle East; Saudi Arabia alone seizes some 55m tablets a year, perhaps 10% of the total thought to be smuggled into the kingdom.
“There was no fear anymore after I took Captagon.”Jihadi describing effect of Captagon
Separate investigations by the news agency Reuters and Time magazine have found that the growing trade in Syrian-made Captagon – an amphetamine widely consumed in the Middle East but almost unknown elsewhere – generated revenues of millions of dollars inside the country last year, some of which was almost certainly used to fund weapons, while combatants on both sides are reportedly turning to the stimulant to help them keep fighting.
The drug is cheap and simple to produce, using ingredients that are easy and often legal to obtain, yet sells for up to $20 a tablet.
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