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Italian police seize 14 tonnes of amphetamine valued at 1 billion euros

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PHOTOS: AFP

“We know that the Islamic State finances its terrorist activities mainly by trafficking drugs made in Syria, which in the past few years has become the world’s largest producer of amphetamines.”

Police in Italy today announced the seizure of 14 tonnes of amphetamines manufactured by the Islamic State in Syria, calling it the “biggest seizure of such drugs in the world.” The drugs, in the form of around 84 million Captagon tablets hidden inside industrial goods within shipping containers, are valued at about a billion euros (34.7 billion baht), and were intended to be sold on the European market “to finance terrorism,” according to a statement from the finance police of Naples.

Police say 3 suspect containers arrived at the port of Salerno, just south of Naples, containing large cylindrical paper rolls for industrial use, as well as industrial machinery. Cutting open the paper rolls and machinery with chainsaws, police found them filled with tablets. Video taken by police showed pills spilling out of the rolls and gearwheels as they were forced open.

Captagon, a brand name, was originally for medical use but illegal versions have been dubbed “the jihad drug” as they are widely used by Islamic State fighters in combat.

“The IS makes extensive use of it in all territories over which it exerts influence and where it controls the drug trade. Once the factories are established, it is easy for IS to produce large quantities also for the world market for synthetic drugs, in order to quickly accumulate substantial funding.”

The amount of drugs seized is sufficient to satisfy the entire European market, police told reporters, without providing a time frame. Naples police say a “consortium” of criminal groups was likely involved in the distribution of the drugs, including possibly many clans within the infamous Camorra criminal gangs of Naples.

“The hypothesis is that during the lockdown, production and distribution of synthetic drugs in Europe practically stopped. Many smugglers, even in consortiums, have turned to Syria where production does not seem to have slowed down.”

Italian police seize 14 tonnes of amphetamine valued at 1 billion euros | News by Thaiger

SOURCE: Barron’s

 

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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