German police arrest Syrians in Bavaria captagon factory bust

German police arrest Syrians in Bavaria captagon factory bust
Two Syrian-born men have been arrested in connection with a massive captagon drug operation in East Bavaria, German police said earlier this week.
2 min read
20 July, 2023
Police seized ingredients needed for up to three tonnes of captagon pills [Getty]

German police busted a massive captagon operation in East Bavaria earlier this month, federal investigators said Tuesday.

Federal investigators in the Regensburg area say that the illegal lab, the largest discovered in Germany to date, was foiled after a years-long, cross-state investigation.

Two Syrian-born men were arrested in connection with the captagon factory, according to the German police statement. 

The unnamed men were aged 31 and 50. 

Bavaria, located at Germany's southern border with multiple countries, has been the site of major drug busts in recent years.

In May 2021, authorities in eastern Bavaria seized over 200 kilograms of captagon tablets.

Captagon use has swept through the Middle East after taking hold as a semi-recreational drug with military uses in the midst of the Syrian civil war.

It has so far failed to take hold in the same way in Europe - although large quantities of the drug are repeatedly seized on the continent.

The amphetamine derivative, developed in the 1960s, induces a sense of sustained euphoria while enabling the user to stay alert in harsh working conditions - and is highly addictive. 

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Originally developed in Germany for the pharmaceutical giants Degussa Pharma Gruppe, the use of captagon was discontinued in the 1970s due to it containing the outlawed substance fenethylline. 

At the facility in Bavaria, police found material needed to manufacture around three tons of the finished product. Investigators suspect pills made at the factory were destined for sale on the international market. 

"The tablets containing amphetamine are mainly consumed in the Arab world," a police spokesman said of the drug bust.

After the regime of Bashar al-Assad led Syria into a catastrophic civil war, Syria has emerged as the global hub for the illegal stimulant.  Some 80% of the world’s Captagon is produced in Syria. 

The Assad regime has come to rely so heavily on the production of captagon for revenue that Syria is now considered a narco-state.