A ship load of tramadol, a synthetic opioid-like drug, from India to be sold to Islamic State terrorists in Libya to give them greater resilience has been seized by the Italian police, according to media reports today. The 37 million tramadol pills, worth $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, The Times reported.
“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. Tramadol is a synthetic opioid-like drug used as a painkiller.
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.