Authorities in Greece confiscated nearly 100,000 pills of the drug Captagon, which has been linked to ISIS fighters in Syria, on the island of Rhodes on Monday.
Port authority officers found 44 plastic bags filled to the brim with the pills, which number around 88,880, in the sea near the eastern town of Kiotari. The bags of drugs featured large swastikas on the outside.
A number of the pills were either completely destroyed or significantly damaged by seawater, and some bags were found empty.
ISIS illegally manufactures the amphetamine in Syria, where it is used by fighters to stay alert and awake. It is also said to inhibit fear, which can make fighters more willing to attack.
This is not the first time Greek authorities have discovered Captagon pills in the country this year, as authorities found a similar haul in January.
In 2020, Italian authorities seized 14 tons of the drug which had been smuggled onto container ships in the port of Salerno. The haul was worth over 1 billion euros.
Captagon pills found in Greece used by ISIS
Fenethylline hydrochloride, or Captagon as it’s better known, was created in 1961 as an alternative to other stimulants. Once prescribed to treat conditions such as depression, fatigue, and narcolepsy, Captagon has since been banned in many countries for over 40 years.
It was seen as a milder version of Dexamphetamine, a pill given to soldiers during the Vietnam War.
As fenethylline is a controlled substance and therefore very difficult to acquire, recent versions of Captagon use amphetamines or stimulants like caffeine in its place.
This version of the drug is much more addictive and destructive, as it permanently impacts the wiring in the areas of the brain that control judgement and logical thinking.
Sources indicate that Captagon use is prevalent on both sides of the conflict in Syria, as Hezbollah fighters, who are linked to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, are thought to consume and manufacture the drug as well.
While most Captagon is now produced in Syria and Lebanon, most of the drug was manufactured in Bulgaria and other countries in the Balkans before the Syrian Civil War began in 2011, according to a report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
The drug has long been popular with Islamic extremists and terrorists. Although most commonly linked to ISIS, Captagon pills were found amongst the belongings of the terrorists who killed 90 people in Paris in the Bataclan Attacks in 2015.
Now it seems that rather than just distributing it to fighters and terrorists, ISIS is looking to sell Captagon in Europe to fund terrorism.
Captagon has a very small market in Europe, as most users of the drug are found in the Middle East, particularly in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates.