Numerous Iranian criminal organizations are operating across different countries, employing Scopolamine, a chemical compound often referred to as “Devil’s Breath”, to orchestrate scams and steal money and valuables from unsuspecting victims. These groups are commonly known as “Scopolamine Gangs”.
The Guardian has reported that Scopolamine, responsible for thousands of crimes in South America, is now being used in street robberies in Paris. The incapacitating effects of this substance incapacitate victims, making them vulnerable to theft.
Reports suggest that Iranians have formed such gangs by recruiting individuals from various nations, including Pakistan, Ukraine, Nigeria, Somalia, Tunisia, Ghana, Tanzania, Mozambique, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Korea, Georgia, Uzbekistan, and more. The activities of the “Scopolamine Gangs” have expanded to numerous countries, including Bangladesh, India, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates (especially Abu Dhabi and Dubai), Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Israel. Furthermore, their influence is growing in Western countries such as Canada, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Greece, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
There are suspicions that some members of the “Scopolamine Gangs” might have connections to Iran’s notorious Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). These IRGC-linked criminal networks appear to target Jewish individuals, while Pakistani members focus on Hindus and non-Muslims in various countries.
Disturbingly, sources suggest that members of the “Scopolamine Gangs” are also using this dangerous chemical to incapacitate non-Muslim females with the nefarious intention of impregnating them through sexual relations. The potent effects of Scopolamine render victims compliant, allowing their assailants to commit acts without resistance. Younger females, including schoolgirls, are often the targets of these criminal acts.
Experts have highlighted that Scopolamine’s ability to cause loss of consciousness makes women particularly vulnerable to sexual assault. Criminals often employ attractive women to lure wealthy foreign men, slipping the powder into their drinks.
Not only are people who fall victim to an attack with scopolamine more vulnerable to being sexually assaulted or robbed, but someone can commit a crime without any recollection of it while under its influence. Abusing this drug can come with dire consequences because it is highly addictive for some individuals that can be more prone to its chemical properties.
Notably, Scopolamine has also entered the realm of sex work, where some sex workers in different countries have reportedly using this chemical to rob their clients. Additionally, criminals have used Scopolamine in casinos to manipulate staff and players, leading to theft and robbery through manipulation. While such incidents currently are taking place at casinos in the Philippines, Nepal and few more countries, ultimately criminals may expand their notoriety within casinos in Las Vegas, Deadwood, Atlantic City, Detroit, Marina Bay, San Juan, Sydney, Biloxi, Aruba, Amsterdam, Cairo (Egypt), Lima, San José, Macau etcetera.
Law enforcement agencies in Bangladesh have succeeded in apprehending several members of Iranian crime rackets that were using Scopolamine to steal substantial sums of money from various individuals.
While Scopolamine is commonly used to prevent nausea and vomiting caused by motion sickness or surgery-related medications, its misuse has raised grave concerns. Known as “devil’s breath,” Scopolamine has gained notoriety in popular media as a method for controlling individuals and facilitating fraud.
Devil’s Breath, derived from the “Borrachero” shrub in Colombia, causes memory loss by blocking certain brain receptors. Scopolamine’s effects can last for days to weeks, potentially leading to the commission of crimes without recollection.
Scopolamine causes short-term and long-term memory loss by blocking the muscarinic cholinergic receptors in the brain and interfering with learning and memory.
The pharmacological half-life of scopolamine in the body is about 9 hours, but the sensitized effects in the vestibular nuclei center can last for days to weeks.
According to a 1995 Wall Street Journal article, about half of all emergency room admissions in Bogota, Colombia were for Burundanga poisoning.
Scopolamine is also present in Jimson Weed (Datura stramonium), a plant found in most of the continental US Under the name Roofie, most people associate the drug with sexual assault, as it is known widely as a “date rape drug”. Although there are several other drugs that fall into the “date rape drug” category, including GHB and Ketamine, and the “Colombian Devil’s Breath” (Scopolamine); Rohypnol has become so synonymous with slipped to a victim in order to facilitate sexual assault, is often called a “Roofie”.
While Scopolamine has significant medical applications, its misuse by criminal groups highlights the dangers of its abuse, not only in committing fraud but also potentially in acts of terrorism. As these issues continue to unfold, it is crucial to address the complexities surrounding Scopolamine’s illicit use and its impact on global security and public safety.