Rome: Italian authorities say they have seized 24 million tablets of an opioid painkiller that were bound for Libya and which international narcotics experts suspect ISIS has been selling and giving its fighters. Financial police discovered over 24 million tramadol tablets being transported from India to Libya at the port of Gioia Tauro. The painkiller, described as the “fighter drug”, is popular among jihadists for its ability to dull pain and suppress fatigue.
The haul is estimated to be worth €50 million and was found following a police crackdown sparked by the discovery of a similar shipment in Genoa in May. Police suspect the haul was destined to be sold by IS to its fighters for about €2 a pill. “According to the information shared with foreign investigative sources, the traffic of Tramadol is directly handled by IS to finance terrorist activities planned and carried out across the world,” the court in Reggio Calabria city said.
Part of the money raised from the sales would also go “to subsidise terrorist groups and extremists operating in Libya, Syria and Iraq,” it said.
This is not the first time that an Indian firm has been tied to IS activities. In February 2016, a study by UK-based Conflict Armament Research found that seven Indian companies were involved in the supply chain of more than 700 components used by IS to construct improvised explosive devices (IEDs).