Italian Police seizes 37 million units of painkillers made by Indian company bound for Islamic State terrorists

Tramadol is a synthetic opioid-like drug used as a painkiller.

By Zee Media Bureau | Updated: May 11, 2017, 11:36 AM IST
Italian Police seizes 37 million units of painkillers made by Indian company bound for Islamic State terrorists
Representational image

London: The Italy Police has confiscated 37.5 million pills of drug, tramadol, used by Islamist fighters.

Tramadol is a synthetic opioid-like drug used as a painkiller.

The cargo, which was heading for Libya, had come from India.

According to media reports, the pills were to be sold to Islamic State terrorists in Libya to give them greater resilience.

The 37 million tramadol pills, worth USD 75 million, were found packed into three containers at the port of Genoa, labelled as blankets and shampoo and set to be loaded on a freighter bound for Misrata and Tobruk in Libya, news agency PTI quoted The Times as saying.

"ISIS is making a fortune from this traffic, giving it to its fighters to make them feel no pain," the British newspaper quoted an Italian investigator as saying.

The Italian Police said the consignment had come from India and would have been used for two purposes: to help finance Islamist terrorism and for use by jihadist fighters as a stimulant and to heighten resistance to physical stress, the BBC reported.

Boko Haram, the Nigerian terror group, is said to feed child soldiers dates stuffed with tramadol before sending them on missions.

ISIS is already known for feeding its fighters Captagon, an amphetamine that blocks hunger, fear and fatigue.

Italian investigators traced the tramadol shipment to an Indian pharmaceuticals company, which allegedly sold the pills for USD 250,000 to a Dubai-based importer, which then shipped them from India to Sri Lanka where they disappeared from the freighter's documents, the report said.

The tramadol pills would sell for two dollars each in Libya, said the investigator.

Last year, police at the Greek port of Piraeus found a container carrying 26 million tramadol tablets, originally from India and allegedly destined for a Libyan company with ties to ISIS, the report said.

(With Agency inputs)