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Greek Officials Score Record-Setting Amphetamine Bust

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Port of Piraeus (file image)

By The Maritime Executive 2019-07-08 18:12:28

Officials in Piraeus, Greece have successfully carried out the largest-ever seizure of Captagon (fenethylline), a stimulant which is commonly abused in the Middle East. The drugs were concealed within pieces of fiberboard in three shipping containers. The port of origin was in Syria and the shipment was bound for China, though the final destination may have been a third country. 

The bust was carried out in Piraeus on June 26, but it took a team of 20 officers several weeks to complete the search and tally the results. Ultimately, the seizure uncovered 33 million pills totaling 5.25 tonnes of fenethylline, stamped and marked to appear as brand-name Captagon. The net value of the haul is upwards of $650 million, according to Greece's financial crimes unit, the SDOE. The American Drug Enforcement Agency contributed to the operation. 

Fenethylline is a mixture of amphetamine with the athsma medication theophylline; the combination is potent and addictive, and it is banned in most Western countries due to its potential for abuse. Today, illicit "Captagon" may simply be amphetamine in a tablet form, cut with fillers but not with theophylline, according to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA). Its production and sale is relatively common in the Middle East.

It is not the first time that Greek authorities have seized Captagon in Piraeus. In January, another bust yielded five million pills.