Police introduced on Wednesday that greater than $1.2B price of amphetamine tablets manufactured by the Islamic State in Syria was seized on the Italian port metropolis of Salerno. Officials characterised the haul of 84 million counterfeit captagon tablets, weighing greater than 15 tons, as the most important amphetamine bust ever by way of each the quantity of medication seized and the financial worth. 

Commander Domenico Napolitano, the pinnacle of the monetary police for the town of Naples, informed CNN that three delivery containers had been tracked to Salerno after an investigation into an Italian organized crime group, the Camorra, revealed details about the illicit cargo. Napolitano mentioned that the amphetamine tablets have been hidden so properly in massive, industrial paper cylinders that scanning gear on the port did not detect the medicine. 

“We weren’t able to see them but we knew it was arriving because of our ongoing investigations we have with the Camorra,” he said. “We intercepted phone calls and members, so we knew what to expect.”

Counterfeit Drug Finances Terrorism

The tablets have been stamped with the emblem “Captagon,” which was initially the model identify for a drug containing the artificial stimulant fenethylline. Although the drug is now not produced by authentic producers, the World Drugs Report 2020 from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime signifies that many of the captagon tablets seized immediately are literally a mixture of amphetamines, caffeine, and different elements.

The drug is a stimulant generally used within the Middle East and international locations bordering the European Union. Captagon has additionally been present in secure homes for the Islamic State (also called ISIS and Daesh), together with one utilized by militants answerable for the 2015 assault on the Bataclan theater in Paris that claimed the lives of 90 folks. It is believed that the medicine are produced by ISIS in Syria and bought to finance the group’s terrorist actions.

“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 mentioned. “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.”

Italian investigators mentioned that the medicine could have been headed for international locations in Europe for distribution by organized crime teams anticipating product due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The hypothesis is that during the lockdown, due to the global epidemiological emergency, the production and distribution of synthetic drugs in Europe has practically stopped and therefore many traffickers with different organized crime groups have turned to Syria, where it does not seem to have slowed down,” police mentioned.

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