A dangerous and addictive drug that was originally developed by Nazi scientists to boost the endurance of Axis soldiers, and which causes users to become aggressive and violent, is being smuggled into Israel from Thailand in ever-larger amounts, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

In Thailand, the methamphetamine-based drug is known as “Yaba” (crazy medicine), and in the West, it is often referred to as “Nazi Speed” or “Hitler’s drug.”

On Sunday, the anti-narcotics 747 Unit, based at Ben-Gurion Airport, together with customs officers from the narcotics department seized 5,000 pills of Yaba that were hidden in a package mailed from Thailand.

In 2009, the unit intercepted 10,219 Yaba pills.

“That’s 15 times more than what we seized in 2008,” Ch.-Supt. Gadi Barel, head of investigations and intelligence with the Ben-Gurion Airport police, told the Post on Monday morning.

Yaba has a long history in Thailand, where the drug was banned in the 1970s.

Barel said Yaba became popular among fishermen there, before spreading to truck drivers, construction workers, police officers and even students who were working night shifts.

“We know that in Bangkok there are over a million addicts. In Thailand, the drug costs NIS 30 to NIS 40. In Laos, where it is produced, it costs NIS 2.5. In Israel, the pill is sold for NIS 200 to NIS 300,” Barel said.

Now the drug threatens to spread to the Israeli club scene, where it rivals other narcotics such as Ecstasy, also an amphetamine.

“We still don’t know if it is spreading among Israelis, but it is fair to assume that it is. On the other hand, Israelis are very scared of this drug. The side affects are known, and the drug has caused a great deal of violence,” Barel said.

“This is one of the most popular synthetic drugs in the world. It has a very fast influence. It’s mainly aimed at Thai workers. It allows them to work for two days straight,” he said.

“Aggressiveness and violence are noticeable side affects,” Barel continued.

“It arrives in pill form from Thailand. The tablets have the letters WY stamped on them. They are usually orange or red, and sometimes green,” he said.

Police say Thai workers have smuggled the drug on their bodies when they flew to Israel, but note that in recent months, airmail has become the trafficking method of choice.

“We work closely with drugs customs and hold joint operations to make interceptions,” Barel said.

Police and customs use a variety of methods to sort through mail packages, including sniffer dogs.

No arrests have yet been made over the recent interception, but police have notified Thai authorities through the Israel Police attaché to Bangkok, Barel said.

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