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'World's largest seizure of amphetamines': Italy finds haul of ISIS-made drugs near Naples

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By Pascale Davies
The drugs, in the form of 84 million tablets, are worth about one billion euros, according to police.
The drugs, in the form of 84 million tablets, are worth about one billion euros, according to police.   -   Copyright  Guardia di Fianza

Italy has made the world's largest seizure of amphetamines, police say.

Fourteen tonnes of an amphetamine-type drug, made by the so-called Islamic State group in Syria, was found in southern Italy.

The haul is worth about €1 billion and came in the form of 84 million captagon tablets, according to a police statement released on Wednesday.

The drugs were found in three containers in the port of Salerno, south of Naples, and hidden in paper cylinders.

"This is the largest seizure of amphetamines in the world," police said.

The tablets were marked with the logo captagon, a brand name of a drug that the American Drug Enforcement Administration says is widely used by ISIS.

Captagon was originally the brand name for a drug containing the stimulant fenethylline hydrochloride, used as a medication for pain relief in the Middle East in the 90s.

Police said the drug is used by ISIS combatants to "inhibit fear and pain". Dubbed the "Jihad drug", it was used in the Paris Bataclan attacks in November 2015, police said.

Guardia di Finanza
The amphetamines were found in paper cylinders.Guardia di Finanza

The drug has helped fund ISIS' terror plots as it can easily produce large amounts of tablets for the world market of synthetic drugs.

Investigators said the haul is likely linked to a "consortium" of criminal groups, as no single dealer could afford a €1 billion purchase.

The Italian news agency Ansa said the drugs could be linked to a clan the size of Naples' Camorra mafia group, as it can market the substance internationally.

Police said it is possible that due to coronavirus lockdown, the production and distribution of drugs in Europe has practically stopped, therefore many traffickers have turned to Syria, whose production does not seem to have slowed down.