Customs Police Colonel Domenico Napolitano called the discovery of three shipping containers packed with around 85 million pills in the southern port of Salerno the biggest amphetamine seizure ever made worldwide.
Investigators believe the drug’s production provides Isis with a vital revenue for its militant activities, Col Napolitano said on Wednesday.
Amphetamine production in Europe is thought to have been hampered by the coronavirus pandemic lockdown, leading drug traffickers to potentially turn towards producers based in Syria to fill the market.
Two weeks ago, a much smaller shipment of the drug was also seized in Salerno’s port in a shipment of clothing.
The city is around 30 miles south of Naples, the historic base of the Camorra, which counts drug trafficking among its means of raising revenue.
The seized amphetamines were labelled captagon, one of several street names for fenethylline hydrochloride.
Customs police said captagon was known as the “drug of the Jihad” and is used by Isis combatants to “inhibit fear and pain”.
The captured haul would have sold for around €1bn (£905m) in street sales, customs police said.
The pills were found inside machinery and large paper cylinders for industrial use. Police used electric saws to cut through the two-metre high cylinders, which were thick enough to elude customs’ scanning devices, to remove the pills from their hollow centres.