How Cheap Man’s Cocaine Runs Syrian And Lebanese Economies
Captagon pills fitted inside pomegranates are the new supply doing rounds from the war ravaged Middle Eastern country of Syria. In a shocking revelation, it has been found that the Syrian economy is actually thriving on the production of this narcotic in bulk. But Syria is the heart for the main ingredient that goes into Captagon pills-fenethylline hydrochloride. Known as the ‘poor man’s cocaine’, it is becoming popular for recreational purposes amongst youth in the Middle east.
Borders of Lebanon and parts of Syria are producing this ingredient. A recent shipment was intercepted in April 2021 by Saudi Arabian officials. Fifteen such shipments have been caught since 2019 too. The latest one used the fruit pomegranate to hide itself. The trade is working in tandem with crime families, militia heads and even political figures. Everyone is hand and glove in this new found narcotic trade for the economy.
But now, Saudi Arabia has banned all agriculture imports from Lebanon-a big blow to the already crippled and bruised economy. The drug is travelling to the far reaches of the Middle East and Europe too. Additionally, six police and intelligence officials in the Middle East and Europe have told prominent media agencies that these narcotics have been shipped from Syria’s Captagon heartland, or across the frontier in Lebanon, where a network of untouchables are at work. Gradually, cross-border cartels have come into being that are comfortably making and distributing industrial scale quantities of drugs.
Additionally, the drug is being misused amongst armed forces as well. It is being used on underage or young recruits in regular forces or militia groups too, where it is seen as having properties that boost courage and numb fears.
In the absence of any proper governance and control on the borders, it’s a new lawless land for the benefit of narcotic mafia. Smugglers, it is said, are easily able to move precursors and finished products, both hashish and Captagon, along a route that takes in Lebanon’s Bekaa valley, the Syrian border town of Qusayr and the roads north through the Alawite heartland of the Assad regime, towards the ports of Latakia and Tartus.
Other modes of transport is through paper rolls bundles, tea leaves, and many other innovative hideouts. The money generated from its sales has funded the war for the militia in Syria for close to five years now. The only way, has been to intercept the shipments because the conspiracy and players are too deeply hidden in the crevasses of Syria and Lebanon. Fighting them would mean a whole new kind of war, all over again.