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Italy Says Seizes Opiates Meant to Finance ISIS

Italy Says Seizes Opiates Meant to Finance ISIS

Friday, 3 November, 2017 - 12:00
FILE PHOTO - Italian Carabinieri are seen as they patrol in front of the entrance of the Palazzo del Cinema a day before the opening of the 74th Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy August 29, 2017. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

Italy seized more than 24 million tablets of a synthetic opiate that ISIS militants 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, Reuters said.

No details on how the illegal shipment was discovered or on its final destination were provided by the court. 

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 euros ($2.33) per tablet, the haul was worth 50 million euros, the statement said.

The drugs sales were "managed directly by ISIS 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.

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