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Lebanon seizes Captagon shipment bound for central Africa, Gulf

Lebanon's latest bust comes as US sanctions and other measures work to counter trafficking in the country.
This picture taken on July 21, 2022 shows a view of sacks of confiscated captagon pills, presented at the judicial police headquarters in the city of Zahle in Lebanon's central Bekaa valley. - A decade of appalling civil war has left Syria fragmented and in ruins but one thing crosses every frontline: the drug fenethylline, commercially known as captagon. The stimulant -- once notorious for its association with Islamic State fighters -- has spawned an illegal $10-billion industry that not only props up the

Lebanon announced a major Captagon bust on Tuesday as the country seeks to curb the massive drug trade.

The Lebanese Internal Security Forces said they seized approximately 450,000 Captagon pills hidden in electric engines in the Beirut port on June 19. The pills were reportedly en route to Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as an unspecified “Arab Gulf state.” Efforts to arrest those involved are ongoing the official National News Agency reported on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Lebanon plays a major role in the thriving Captagon trade, a smuggling industry that thrived since the Syrian conflict in 2011. The country and neighboring Syria are both used to produce and smuggle Captagon, particularly to the Gulf. Trading the amphetamine-like drug has expanding significantly in recent years, becoming an industry worth billions of dollars, according to a 2022 report from the Newlines Institute.

Lebanese authorities have pledged to do more to curb the Captagon trade. In April, Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi announced the seizure of a whopping 10 million pills destined for Saudi Arabia and Senegal in west Africa.

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