Lebanon seizes 142 kg of illicit drugs in major bust with help from Saudi authorities

Lebanon’s police said Saturday it has seized more than 800,000 pills of the amphetamine-type stimulant captagon worth around $12 million in a bust coordinated with Saudi authorities. (AFP)
Updated 14 April 2019

Lebanon seizes 142 kg of illicit drugs in major bust with help from Saudi authorities

  • Captagon is classified by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime as an “amphetamine-type stimulant” and usually blends amphetamines, caffeine and other substances
  • The drug is commonly used in the Syrian war, where fighters say it helps them stay awake for days and numbs their senses

BEIRUT:  Police in Lebanon have seized more than 800,000 pills of the stimulant Captagon worth about $12 million in an operation coordinated with Saudi authorities.

Police stopped a refrigerated truck containing 142 kilograms of the illicit drug on April 9, Lebanese authorities revealed on Saturday.

The operation followed a tip-off from Saudi Arabia’s Directorate of Narcotics Control that drug smugglers planned to transport a large shipment of Captagon to an unidentified Arab country by land, they said.

The truck was seized near the town of Chtaura in the Bekaa Valley, and a 32-year-old Syrian national was arrested, a security source told Arab News. The drug was professionally hidden and would not have been found by a scanner, the source said.

Captagon is commonly used in the Syrian war, where fighters say it helps them stay awake for days and numbs their senses.

The drug is classified by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime as an “amphetamine-type stimulant” and usually blends amphetamines, caffeine and other substances.

Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria are usually assumed to be transit or production territories for illicit Captagon, according to the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction.

A source said there had been an escalation in the smuggling of Captagon in Lebanon.  “Captagon factories do not need large areas and the security forces in Lebanon have seized many Captagon factories on their territory.”

Gangs also used different smuggling methods. “There was an attempt last week to smuggle Captagon pills inside furniture, and before that inside motorbikes and trucks.”

Cooperation with Saudi security services was “continuous and distinctive and always has positive results,” the source said.


Lebanon says 9 Daesh-linked suspects killed in hunt for ‘terrorists’

Updated 27 September 2020

Lebanon says 9 Daesh-linked suspects killed in hunt for ‘terrorists’

  • Saturday’s operation came more than a month after the army and security forces launched a manhunt for suspects in the August 21
  • Police intelligence units raided a house in the northern region of Wadi Khaled

BEIRUT: Lebanese police have killed nine suspected members of the Daesh group in the hunt for “terrorists” linked to several deadly attacks, including on soldiers, a security source said Sunday.
Saturday’s operation came more than a month after the army and security forces launched a manhunt for suspects in the August 21 killing of two municipal policemen and the son of the mayor of the northern village of Kaftoun.
Police intelligence units raided a house in the northern region of Wadi Khaled where “suspects linked to the Daesh” had been holed up, “killing all the terrorists inside,” the Internal Security Forces (ISF) said in a statement.
A security source said “at least nine members of the group were killed.”
But the source said the death toll could rise as more bodies could be buried under the rubble of the house, part of which was blown up during the police operation.
The ISF statement said the “terrorist cell” was made up of more than 15 suspects. It added that three had been arrested in previous raids.
Following the August murders in Kaftoun, the army and police launched operations to track down the assailants.
On September 14, the army said four soldiers were killed while attempting to arrest suspected “terrorist” Khaled Al-Tallawi at his north Lebanon home, though he was eventually shot dead.
Meanwhile, two Lebanese soldiers were killed overnight in an attack on an army post in the locality of Arman-Minyeh, also in the north of the country, the army said Sunday.
“Two soldiers were killed, in addition to one terrorist,” it said in a statement.
An attacker “riding a motorbike tried to enter the army post, and army members confronted him, killing him instantly,” it added.
They found grenades and an explosives belt on him, the last of which it said “he had intended to detonate inside the post.”
Wadi Khaled and the Arman-Miniyeh region are near second city Tripoli, which has been rocked by violence involving Islamists over the years, including as part of the fallout from the conflict in Syria.