A 42-year-old Chinese woman, a 59-year-old Chinese woman, and a 56-year old man were arrested by police in Paris after they victimized people for months by using scopolamine, popularly known as “devil’s breath,” a mind-altering drug that makes people compliant with any suggestion or command given to them. The three individuals are believed to be part of an international gang similar to or possibly linked with the Triads.
Devil’s breath is derived from the Colombian plant known as Angel’s Trumpet. The three perpetrators targeted dozens of mostly elderly victims on the streets of Paris since the spring of this year by blowing the drug in powder form into the faces of unsuspecting victims while passing them on the street. Then the thieves were able to get the victims to take them to their valuables and hand them over without any questions or resistance because the drug put them in a hypnotic state.
Authorities suspect their thefts could number in the millions of dollars, including one victim who lost €100,000 in cash and other valuables. The two women were nabbed at a metro station entrance after being identified by an associate of one of the victims. The man was arrested later after police did a raid of the women’s hotel room. Arrests have also been made in China and South Korea.
The drug has a long history of being used as a truth serum by the CIA, the Nazis, and the Soviet Union, not only making its victims compliant but also rendering major hallucinations as a side effect. In the mid-to-late 1990s, it was used to cut heroin and led to an epidemic of overdoses. Thiamine teamed with naloxone are thought to counteract its mind altering effects and benzodiazepines are believed to control seizures it may cause.
Incidents such as this are a reminder of the type of world we live in and these thieves, undoubtedly, are under the influence of the original, Master Thief. Thank God not only for physical remedies to counteract mind altering substances, but also for Paul’s constant reminders of spiritual antidotes as we navigate our fallen world, such as 2 Timothy 1:7 where we are told we not only are given a spirit of love, but also a spirit of power and a sound mind. This spirit of power includes the abilities mentioned in Mark 16:17-18 so that if we unintentionally take in a poisonous substance, it will not harm us if we exercise faith. God’s spirit, according to Luke 10:19, also gives us power over all the power of the enemy, including his attempts to make us submit to mind altering drugs.
Ephesians 5 also points out the importance of walking “circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise.” This means being alert and aware of our surroundings, both physical and spiritual. But how can we know we possess such things in our covenant-contract signed in Jesus’ blood unless we take the time to read and study the fine print of his word?
Michael Franco, Arrests made over zombifying drug known as ‘devil’s breath’, Yahoo News, September 3, 2015.
Henry Samuel, Three arrested in Paris over ‘devil’s breath’ drug that turns victims into willing ‘zombies, London Telegraph, September 1, 2015.