Pubdate: Sun, 13 Apr 2014
Source: Daily Star, The (Lebanon)
Page: 7
Copyright: 2014 The Daily Star


The latest police seizure of Captagon pills, around 12 million this
time, must be commended, but until the problem is addressed at the
source, the story looks set to continue, and the market will continue
to overflow with the drug.

Every week or so, it seems, another consignment of the amphetamine is
found, whether at the airport, the border with Syria, or at the port.
This latest haul was discovered at the Beirut port, and two of the
four individuals arrested were port staff themselves. Allegedly headed
for the United Arab Emirates, and hidden in bags of corn, this huge
quantity of drugs raises many questions.

Estimated at a street value of around $500 million, the sheer amount
of drugs seized reveals that they were part of a major operation.
Producing such quantities of drugs requires a lot of physical space
in terms of factories or plants  and a large network of individuals
involved. It is clear that such facilities must exist in areas outside
of government control, or that they are being allowed to operate, with
certain local authorities or figures choosing to turn a blind eye to
the phenomenon.

As with the food and medicinal drug scandals of recent years, this
Captagon story is indicative of the endemic levels of corruption at
play in Lebanon. Those at the source are being protected by certain
people of authority, or, at the very least, security services are
afraid to crack down on them for fear of others who are protecting the

But until those at the source of the issue are rooted out, the drugs
will continue to proliferate, and the lowest level gang members will
remain in jail while the ringleaders reap the benefits.
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