Officers tracked three suspect containers to the port of Salerno in southwest Italy and located 84 million capsules with a market worth of €1 billion ($1.12 billion) inside paper cylinders for industrial use, the Guardia di Finanza monetary police mentioned in an announcement Wednesday.
Investigators mentioned the bust is the biggest drug haul on the earth in phrases of each worth and amount.
Commander Domenico Napolitano, head of the monetary police for town of Naples, advised CNN that the medicine have been nicely hidden and the scanners on the port did not detect them.
“We weren’t able to see them but we knew it was arriving because of our ongoing investigations we have with the Camorra (Italian organized crime group),” he mentioned.
“We intercepted phone calls and members, so we knew what to expect.”
The Camorra convey the medicine to Italy and take a reduce for serving to to distribute them, Napolitano added.
The capsules carried the “Captagon” emblem, which “distinguishes the ‘drug of Jihad,'” in accordance with the assertion.
“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.”
The group can be capable of simply produce giant portions of artificial medicine to promote on international markets, elevating big quantities of cash, added police.
The investigation and bust have been carried out on a decree from the Naples public prosecutor, the assertion added. Police imagine the medicine have been meant for distribution in Europe by numerous organized crime teams.
“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.
Brigadier General Gabriele Failla, head of the monetary police in Naples and the encircling province, advised CNN that he believes a quantity of legal teams might have banded collectively to purchase the massive cargo.
Traffickers do not usually ship so many medicine directly as a result of it is too dangerous, mentioned Failla, and no single group might take care of so many capsules directly.
“This is a remarkable evidence of the ‘nexus’ between terror financing and organized crime interests,” he added.
Captagon was initially the model title for a medicinal product containing the artificial stimulant fenethylline. It is not produced or used, however medicine carrying the Captagon title are commonly seized within the Middle East, in accordance with the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA).
The drug is a typical stimulant within the Middle East, and can be utilized in some international locations bordering the European Union, the group mentioned.
“In addition, some recent media reports have linked this drug to perpetrators of terrorist acts in Europe or terrorist groups based in areas of conflict in the Middle East,” the EMCDDA added.
In 2015, CNN reported on a US official who believed that some jihadist fighters have been utilizing Captagon, which may trigger a surge of power and a euphoric excessive.
In addition to reportedly taking the drug themselves, militants in Syria on either side of the combating might also be taking advantage of the manufacturing and trafficking of the capsules, in accordance with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
“(Islamic State) and al Nusra Front are also believed to facilitate the smuggling of chemical precursors for the production of Captagon,” UNODC chief Yury Fedotov mentioned at a press convention in June 2015.
The counterfeit Captagon tablets include amphetamine in addition to different chemical substances, in accordance with the UNODC.