Italy’s financial police, Guardia di Finanza, said in a statement Wednesday that authorities seized a 15.4 ton shipment of amphetamines reportedly produced by ISIS in Syria.
The police tracked three containers at the port of Salerno in southwest Italy and found around 84 million pills stored inside industrial paper cylinders, CNN reported. The estimated value of the drugs was around $1.12 billion, the largest amphetamine bust in the world by quantity and value, the statement said.
#GDF #Napoli, sequestro record di 14 tonnellate di #anfetamine: 84 milioni di pasticche prodotte in #Siria da ISIS/DAESH per finanziare il #terrorismo. Oltre 1 miliardo di euro il valore sul mercato. #NoiconVoi pic.twitter.com/McdOljNxa5
— Guardia di Finanza (@GDF) July 1, 2020
Commander Domenico Napolitano, who oversees the financial police in Naples, told CNN that the paper cylinders hid the drugs well and did not alert the scanners at the port. “We weren’t able to see them but we knew it was arriving because of our ongoing investigations we have with the Camorra,” he said.
Camorra, an Italian organized crime group, plays a role in the distribution of drugs in Italy and was the previous target of a financial police investigation. Italian crime groups have been reported to bring in drugs from ISIS and other groups in the Middle East, according to the Daily Beast.
The amphetamines seized by the financial police were reported to be synthetically-produced Captagon pills, which has been dubbed the “jihad drug” after it was linked to ISIS, according to CBS News. (RELATED: Meet ‘Shabu,’ The Drug Fueling Islamic Extremism)
سنتعامل مع كل تجار ومروجي المخدرات بشكل قانوني وحازم ونقوم بتنظيف منطقة الـ٥٥ من كل المواد المخدرة والمسكرة التي تهلك الاسرة والمجتمع. pic.twitter.com/k9171nzKTy
— مغاوير الثورة (@MaghaweirThowra) June 15, 2018
ISIS soldiers were reportedly taking the amphetamines in Syria during the Battle for Raqqa against U.S.-backed forces in 2017. The terrorist group has also been linked to production and trafficking operations, CBS News reported.
Brigadier General Gabriele Failla, a financial police chief, told CNN he sees the drug bust as a coordinated incident between terrorist groups and Italian crime syndicates. “This is a remarkable evidence of the ‘nexus’ between terror financing and organized crime interests,” he said.