Drugs found in laboratory near Athens ‘destined for Middle East’


Large quantities of the synthetic drug fenethylline which were found in a makeshift laboratory near Elefsina, west of Athens, last week, had been destined to be smuggled to the Middle East, it emerged on Monday.

Also known by its brand name, Captagon, the stimulant is believed to be widely used for recreational purposes in the Middle East and by fighters in Syria to keep them alert.

Presenting details about the discovery of the 635,000 fenethylline pills, the head of the Financial Crimes Unit (SDOE), Stavros Thomadakis, said the cooperation between SDOE, the Hellenic Coast Guard and the Greek Police had borne fruit despite major belt-tightening imposed by Greece’s creditors.

“If the example is spread across the public administration, we will see a complete reversal of the current situation,” he said. “I feel the need to shout out ‘We’re still alive,’” he added. “The technical teams that are in the country and shrunk SDOE must listen to us.”

A custom-made speedboat with hidden compartments, which was confiscated last week, would have been used to transfer the pills to Turkey and from there to the Middle East, investigators said.

Fenethylline was used in the 1960s-80s to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, narcolepsy and depression but was withdrawn due to its side effects.