Fourteen tons of drugs, estimated to be valued at up to 1 billion euros and possibly linked to the Islamic State was seized by Italian law enforcement officers. The seizure is being touted as the largest of its kind. The items that were taken—amphetamines.
When investigators learned of there containers were scheduled to arrive at Salerno port, just 32 miles south of Naples, they became suspicious. The suspicion was based on previous evidence of seizures.
When detained, the containers in question were giant rolls of industrial paper, measuring in at 6 ½ feet tall by 4 ½ feet wide. When law enforcement officers took a closer look, it was clear that something was amiss.
Upon opening the containers, officials first saw the rolls of paper. However, it appeared that the layers of paper had indeed been modified. Their new design allowed for concealment of the drugs, which were an estimated 771 pounds of tablets per container.
When all was said and done, law enforcement reported they had seized an estimated 84 million tablets of the drug.
The symbol imprinted on the tablets, Captagon, is an amphetamine that is known to be an "ISIS drug" or a "Jihad drug." It has been learned that the Islamic State distributes the amphetamine to their soldiers and fighters, as it inhibits the individuals feeling of both fear and pain.
Captagon, which is the brand name for the drug fenethyllin hydrochloride, was initially marketed to combat and treat such problems as narcolepsy, depression, and in some cases, hyperactivity. However, the drug was banned in almost all countries in the 1980s.
It wasn't long before a counterfeit version appeared, and the drug has remained a popular favorite in the Middle East. With its aforementioned both fear-inhibiting and stimulating effects, the drug has been found useful during protracted firefights in war-torn countries.
The drug is a big seller in the Middle East and is known to be among the many substances that are trafficked by ISIS, which the group then uses to finance its terrorist activities. It is worth noting the primary source of production of the drug is currently in Syria.
The recent seizure on Wednesday came a little over two weeks after another container was blocked by law enforcement at the same port. That container was reported as carrying over 6,000 pounds of hashish, various counterfeit clothing, and an estimated 400 pounds of the same amphetamine drug, also said to be stamped with the Captagon symbol.
Are more seizures to come in the near future?