x

Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 11 December 2018

Italy seizes $60m worth of Tramadol pills meant to finance ISIL

Money would have been used to finance attacks around the world, prosecutor says

Italy has seized more than 24 million tablets of Tramadol that ISIL planned to sell to finance attacks around the world, the head of a southern Italian court said on Friday.

The pills were seized by finance police and customs officials in the container port of Gioia Tauro, Italy's biggest, according to a statement. The US Drug Enforcement Administration collaborated in the investigation.

A video shows police opening a container filled with boxes of Tramadol, a powerful painkiller normally available only on prescription.

With an average sale price of about $2.33 (Dh8.50) per tablet, the haul was worth $60m, the statement said. Foreign investigators told the court in the city of Reggio Calabria that the drugs belonged to ISIL.

The drugs sales were "managed directly" by ISIL "to finance the terrorist activities planned and carried out around the world", Reggio Calabria's chief prosecutor Federico Cafiero De Raho said.

"Part of the illegal profit from their sale would have been used to finance extremist groups in Libya, Syria and Iraq," he said.

No details on how the shipment was discovered or on its final destination were provided by the court. A similar shipment was discovered in Greece last year, and an even larger one was found in Italy's Genoa port in May.