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Over US$1 billion captagon pills found in boxships at Salero port

The Italian police have confiscated a world record haul of 14 tonnes of amphetamines which they believe were manufactured in the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) group to fund "terrorist" operations and were destined for Europe's illicit drug market.

On 30 June, the Italian police seized three dubious container ships stationed in the Italian port of Salerno and discovered 84 million Captagon pills on board the ships. The pills were hidden within machinery and large paper cylinders, intended to be used for factories. This is the biggest amphetamine seizure in the world to date.

Police suspect that the narcotics, to be sold on the European market, were intended "to finance terrorism," where they are estimated to be worth around one billion euros (US$1.12 billion).

“We are aware that the Islamic State finances its terrorist activities primarily through the trafficking of drugs manufactured in Syria, which has become the largest manufacturer of amphetamines in recent years,” the statement asserted.

Investigations revealed the pills were engraved with two semi-circles, the Captagon symbol. Captagon is rumored to be used by ISIL militants to "inhibit fear and agony," according to Customs police.

Interestingly, a smaller consignment of the drug was intercepted in the port of Salerno in June disguised as a clothing shipment. Similarly, Saudi Arabia seizes 4.5m amphetamine pills in Jeddah, around the same time this year.

Ankur Kundu

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