Italy Seizes 24 Million Opiate Pills from ISIS – Not the First Time
On Friday of last week, Italian police intercepted 24 million pills of opiate, estimated to be worth 40 million euros, from the terrorist organization ISIS.
Authorities believe that the drugs seized were going to be sold to support the organization’s terrorist activities.
“The traffic of tramadol is directly handled by IS to finance terrorist activities planned and carried out across the world,” according to a court in the region, as reported by Sky News.
Each pill goes for about €2 on the market. Prosecutors estimate that if this shipment wasn’t intercepted it would have made ISIS 50 million in euros.
The shipment was sent from India and was headed for its final destination in Libya, but was ultimately discovered at the Calabrian port of Gioia Tauro
Authorities believe that the drugs, which primarily consisted of the painkiller Tramadol, were not only meant to be used to make a profit, but also as a way to medicate soldiers to suppress their pain as they wage terror.
ISIS has attributed significantly to the rise in Tramadol addiction in the Middle East.
“Owing to its cheap price and potency, Tramadol dependency has reached crisis levels in much of Libya and Egypt. Use of the drug, normally only available on prescription, is also rampant among fighters of the Nigerian terror group Boko Haram,” writes The Guardian.
This isn’t the first shipment intercepted by Italian authorities. In May, 36 million pills were discovered within shampoo bottles at the port of Genoa.
Gaetano Paci, the Reggio Calabria magistrate in charge of anti-mafia cases, wasn’t surprised by this recent massive siege.
“Everything passes through Gioia Tauro, so it comes as no surprise to find a trafficked substance of this kind there,” said Paci to La Repubblica newspaper.
He also thinks that ISIS isn’t working alone either.
He believes that the local organized crime syndicate known as the “Ndràngheta” is working with ISIS to transport the drugs.
“We’ve known of connections between the ‘Ndràngheta and Middle Eastern organizations for some time,” said Paci. “Even though investigative pressure has made the port less ‘safe’ for the mob, we have identified several carriers and families linked to the ‘Ndràngheta who seem to be engaged in various types of trafficking with organizations in the Middle East.”
Author’s note: Drug smuggling and trafficking have always been used as a way for terrorist organizations to fund their activities. The Taliban, for example, is largely funded for the profit made from opium trafficking. Ironically, these drugs are being distributed all over the world. So, the U.S. and European citizens purchasing these drugs are helping ISIS make cash that is then being used for attacks against Westernized countries. All the while, ISIS is contributing and promoting the rise of opiate addiction.