Italian Police Seize Largest Ever Haul of ‘ISIS-Made’ Captagon Amphetamines
Police in Italy have confiscated a huge shipment of 14 metric tonnes (15.4 US tons) of amphetamines which they say was produced by ISIS in Syria
Officers tracked three suspect containers to the port of Salerno in southwest Italy and found 84 million pills with a market value of €1 billion ($1.12 billion) inside paper cylinders for industrial use, the Guardia di Finanza financial police said in a statement Wednesday.
Investigators said the bust is the largest drug haul in the world in terms of both value and quantity.
Commander Domenico Napolitano, head of the financial police for the city of Naples, told CNN that the drugs were well hidden and the scanners at the port didn’t detect them.
The pills were found inside paper cylinders at the port of Salerno.
“We weren’t able to see them but we knew it was arriving because of our ongoing investigations we have with the Camorra (Italian organized crime group),” he said.
“We intercepted phone calls and members, so we knew what to expect.”The Camorra bring the drugs to Italy and take a cut for helping to distribute them, Napolitano added.
The pills carried the “Captagon” logo, which “distinguishes the ‘drug of Jihad,’” according to the statement.
“It is known that ISIS/Daesh finances its terrorist activities in large part with the trafficking of synthetic drugs produced largely in Syria, which has become the leading world producer of amphetamines in recent years,” police said.
“According to the DEA (US Drug Enforcement Administration), ISIS makes wide use of these drugs in all the territories over which it exerts influence and controls its sale.”
Police said the pills were destined for distribution in Europe.
The group is also able to easily produce large quantities of synthetic drugs to sell on global markets, raising huge amounts of money, added police.
The investigation and bust were carried out on a decree from the Naples public prosecutor, the statement added. Police believe the drugs were intended for distribution in Europe by various organized crime groups.
“The hypothesis that the lockdown, due to the global epidemiological emergency, production and distribution of synthetic drugs in Europe has almost stopped and then in the other crime groups and many merchants turned to Syria where it seems to be slowed down,” police said.
Brigadier General of the Gabriele Failla, a finance officer and the head of the province of Naples and the surrounding, told CNN the magistrate does not believe in the good of many, as one of the criminal groups of people gathered together, with a lot to buy, it is so huge.
Not many drug traffickers at the same time that it’s normal to send mass is said Failla, and one group was doing so with the same measures.
“This is a remarkable testimony to the joints and the fear of crime financing benefits,” he added.
Captagon in the brand name product contains a synthetic medical fenethylline stimulant. No product is used, it is not poison but they are usually bearing the name Captagon seized in the Middle East, according to the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA).
A stimulant drug that is common in the Middle East and also in several European Union countries close to the organization said.
“In addition, recent reports that half of the drug is linked to terrorist groups based in Europe or the perpetrators of terrorist acts areas of conflict in the Middle East,” the EMCDDA added.
In 2015, the US official told CNN he believed that some of Captagon jihadist men, who might be able to make a euphoric tenderness and high-energy.
In addition to taking the drug for a match, fighting militants in Syria on each side can benefit from the production and pills, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
“(Islamic State) and al Nusra Front, are also believed to facilitate the smuggling of precursors for the production of Captagon need,” UNODC chief Yury Fedotov said at a press conference in June 2015.
The counterfeit Captagon tablets contain amphetamine as well as other chemicals, according to the UNODC.