TERROR NETWORKS CASH IN ON PILLS
Narcotics summit told of worrying rise of captagon
Terror groups including ISIS and Hezbollah are making millions of dollars by flooding the Middle East with the addictive amphetamine known as captagon, a major drugs summit has heard.
The Hemaya International Forum on Drug Issues in Dubai was yesterday told of a huge rise in production of the narcotic since the war in Syria broke out five years ago.
Michelle Spann, a Liaison Officer at the US Consulate in Dubai and a speaker at the event, said that captagon smuggling to Gulf states has increased recently because of the conflict.
She said: “Syria has become the main production point for the drug and the money coming from smuggling strengthens terrorist groups like ISIL and Hezbollah.”
Spann said one kilo of captagon powder can produce 5,800 pills at a cost of just $1,680 to the supplier. She continued: “The street value for one pill is between $3 to $33. The profit from one kilo can reach $60,000.
“And now our reports are showing that some factories produce two million captagon pills per day.
“These are big numbers and all the money goes to the benefit of terrorist groups like ISIL.”
Across the globe, law enforcement agencies seized 310 million captagon pills in 2015.
“Those numbers are only 10 per cent of the production of captagon worldwide,” Spann added.
Another expert, Hatem Fouad Ali, from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), told 7DAYS: “In the Middle East and GCC we have noticed an increase in drug consumption in countries like UAE, Jordan, Qatar and Kuwait. There is also a big increase in seizures in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Yemen.”
Ali added that tackling drug use among young people is one of the greatest challenges that countries in the Middle East face today.
He said: “We have reports that children as young as 10 years old consume drugs and it’s a worrying figure. The political situation and conflict in the Middle East is a key reason for the spread of drugs.”
‘The money coming from smuggling strengthens terrorist groups like ISIL and Hezbollah’ – US consulate official Michelle Spann
THREAT: Pictures of ISIS supporters in Iraq. The summit heard the coffers of terror groups are being boosted by drug sales