Italian police investigation uncovers shipment of over 15 tons of Captagon pills with an estimated value of over a billion dollars.
By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News
The Italian police made the biggest drug bust of all time Wednesday, in both quantity and street value, when they confiscated a shipment of amphetamines produced by the ISIS terrorist group in Syria.
According to the police, after intercepting phone calls to and from the Camorra, an Italian organized-crime syndicate, they tracked three container ships from Syria to the Salerno port that officially contained machinery and paper cylinders for industrial use. Upon opening the shipment, they found 84 million counterfeit pills of a synthetic drug called Captagon, with a street value of $1.1 billion.
They were very well hidden, the police said, and would not have been found had they not been tipped off during the course of their ongoing investigations.
Captagon is no longer produced as a legitimate medicine. Its faked counterpart, however, has become known as the “drug of jihad,” said the police statement.
“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,” the statement said.
The Islamic terrorists reportedly use the drug themselves before going out to battle, as it provides the body with a huge boost in energy, inhibits fear, and produces a euphoric high.
It is also a huge source of income for the organization.
“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,” the police said.
Brigadier General Gabriele Failla, head of the financial police in Naples and the surrounding province, told CNN that such an enormous shipment must have been ordered by many criminal groups working together, as it was too much for one gang to distribute.
“This is a remarkable evidence of the ‘nexus’ between terror financing and organized crime interests,” he said.
The police theorized that the supply of Captagon as well as other illicit drugs had run low on the continent due to the general lockdown of the population in recent months in reaction to the coronavirus 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 said.