• France's news in English

Mystery 'zombie' drug used in Paris muggings

The Local · 1 Sep 2015, 11:38

Published: 01 Sep 2015 11:38 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The woman with Chinese nationality were arrested near the Goncourt metro station in the capital’s 10th arrondissement on suspicion of having made dozens of Asian victims inhale the substance before robbing them, Le Parisien newspaper reports.

A search of their apartment revealed Chinese herbs, a set of scales, gloves and filters, a police source told the paper.

A third person was later arrested on suspicion of preparing the drug.

The substance used in the Paris attacks is yet to be determined but evidence the women had recently travelled to Mexico has given rise to suspicions that the women were using something like the 'Devil's Breath’ drug found in Colombia.


That substance contains scopolamine, a toxin found in plants of the Datura genus found in the South American country.

Scopolamine is odourless and tasteless and is used in small quantities to treat travel sickness and post-surgical nausea and vomiting.

In larger quantities, however, it can bring on drowsiness and hallucinations.

It is also an active ingredient in Devil's Breath, a drug which has a mythical reputation in Colombia where it is said to be able to turn people into ‘zombies’ leaving them without free will. Stories abound of people handing over their life savings while in a drug-induced daze, or being repeatedly raped after being administered the substance.

Scopolamine, also a powerful antidepressant, was tested as a truth serum in the early 20th century but side effects were found to be too severe.

The verdict is out in terms of how much Devil's Breath actually strips people of their free will. Many argue instead that the substance strips people of their inhibitions and makes them behave in ways they later regret.

SEE ALSO: Top FIVE street scams to avoid in Paris

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
A Prophet. Photo: YouTube Screengrab

Looking for something to watch?

The must-see French films of the millennium - Part Two
Rust and Bone. Photo: YouTube Screengrab

The newest French films you need to see before you die (or alternatively when you get some spare time).

Election Watch
Presidential hopeful reckons a pain au chocolat is 10 cents

So France happily takes the pastry out of him.

French ministry of defence officials die in plane crash
Screengrab: eddydeg/Twitter

The French Ministry of Defence officials were killed on Monday when a light aircraft went down on the island of Malta.

Revealed: The ten most stolen cars in France
A Smart car in Paris. Photo: JR_Paris/Flickr

Thieves in France are getting a taste for luxury cars, it seems.

Analysis - France migrant crisis
Migrant crisis won't end with Calais 'Jungle' closure
All Photos: AFP

The Jungle camp may be being cleared but this won't be the end of the migrant crisis in France.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie 'to sell their French chateau'
All photos: AFP

Want to live where Brangelina got married?

How Paris is rapidly becoming Europe's 'City of Innovation'
Photo: AFP

If you want to start a company then Paris is the place to do it, it seems.

'Jungle' clearance: Migrants begin to leave Calais camp
All photos: AFP

The "Jungle" clearance is underway.

France's 'Jungle' children arrive in UK
Authorities will start to clear the ‘Jungle’ migrant camp on Monday. Photo: Denis Charlet / AFP file picture

The first group of children from the French "Jungle" migrant camp with no connection to Britain have arrived in the country, the Home Office said Sunday, ahead of the camp's planned demolition.

The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
jobs available