Authors: Ertig Couture
A potent stimulant popular both with jihadist fighters and soldiers in the Syrian army was seized in the West Bank, police from the Judea and Samaria district said.
In a statement put out on Friday, district police said that while checking a Palestinian returning from Jordan by way of the Allenby crossing they found 1.3 kg. of hashish as well as thousands of pills of Captagon.
The Palestinian man, a resident of Jericho, told police that the pills were to treat his heart condition. He was arrested and taken for questioning by Ma’aleh Adumim police.
A representative for the Judea and Samaria police district was not able to say on Saturday night if this was the first seizure of Captagon in the West Bank.
Captagon is the brand name for a stimulant with the active ingredient fenethylline, a chemical linkage of amphetamine and theophylline. The drug was outlawed in most of the west by the mid-’80s but remains extremely popular in the Arab world, especially in Syria, where much of it is manufactured.
Bootleg and generic copycats are quite common.
Recent reports have stated that Captagon is highly popular with fighters on both sides of the Syrian war; both jihadists from Islamic State and other groups as well as soldiers in the Syrian army.
An article published in The Guardian last week “Captagon: The amphetamine fueling Syria’s civil war,” said that the trade in the drug continues to bring millions of dollars in revenue each year, almost certainly paying for arms for rebel and jihadist forces and serving as a popular battlefield stimulant for fighters on both sides.
Earlier investigations by Reuters and Time said that the drug has become popular with Syria’s war-wracked civilian population.
In recent years, reports have surfaced that Lebanese Shi’ite terrorist group Hezbollah have been helping fund their activities through the production and trafficking of large amounts of fake Captagon, producing powerful methamphetamine pills sold across the Middle East. Lebanese authorities have also busted a number of drug labs in southern Lebanon that were reportedly used to cook methamphetamines.