Police uncover ring producing synthetic drug used by combatants in Syria


The financial crimes unit (SDOE) announced on Friday that it had discovered a lab producing large quantities of fenethylline, a synthetic drug reported to be widely used for recreational purposes in the Middle East as well as by fighters in Syria to boost their courage on the battlefield, where it is known by the brand name Captagon.

Four people were arrested – two Greeks, an Albanian and a Turkish national – and police say they are also looking for three more suspects, including a retired police officer.

The lab, the first of its kind to be discovered in Greece, was located near Elefsina, west of Athens, in a joint operation conducted by SDOE, the Greek coast guard and police.

Authorities said that 635,000 pills were confiscated, as well as a truck equipped with special compartments to conceal the drugs. The pills were produced to be exported, but the destination was not clear.

The investigation trail further led to a custom-tailored speedboat, in the Mesogeia area of eastern Attica, which also had hidden compartments, and was used to smuggle the drugs out of Greece.

The value of the confiscated pills is estimated at approximately 10 million euros.

Fenethylline is an amphetamine-type stimulant that was first used between the 1960s and 1980s in the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), narcolepsy and depression. It was eventually taken off the market due to its side effects and because it is highly addictive.