Syrian media outlets have revealed the volume of drug trade carried out by the Lebanese Hezbollah in Syria in order to finance and diversify its financial sources in light of the US sanctions on Iran, the terrorist group’s primary financier, as well as heavy sanctions against Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s men.
Syrian media reported that shipments loaded with narcotics had arrived in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor coming from Hezbollah strongholds in Lebanon.
The Euphrates Post network said that three trucks entered the city of Abu Kamal, east of Deir Ezzor, on Monday morning, carrying pills and narcotics, as well as fruits and vegetables.
Activists explained that the drugs were carried by three trucks that came from Lebanese territory and then entered the countryside of Homs to be smuggled with vegetables and fruits to militia elements in the Deir Ezzor countryside.
The drugs are being sold to the Iraqi militia Kata’ib Hezbollah, and there are quantities that are also smuggled into Iraq and Jordan.
The website noted that Iranian militia leader Abu Turab al-Saadi is one of the most prominent leaders supervising the smuggling operations and the protection of trucks, while soldiers at the checkpoints receive huge sums in exchange for allowing them to pass through the checkpoints.
Media sources talked about the seizure of a huge shipment of drugs in the city of Al-Qusayr in the southwestern countryside of Homs, and indications point to Hezbollah being behind these shipments, in cooperation with the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, especially the Syrian army’s Fourth Division.
It is also known that the Lebanese Hezbollah, which is classified on the US and Gulf terrorist lists, is imposing its control over most of the mountainous border areas between Lebanon and Syria, in partnership with the Fourth Division, while the drug and weapons trade is active in the region, supervised by Hezbollah leaders.
Hezbollah’s activities were not only limited to their areas of influence, but reached many countries, which have announced the seizure of massive drug shipments, including the Gulf states, Greece, Italy, and other countries. Authorities in these countries spoke about thwarting several drug smuggling operations coming from areas controlled by militias backed by the Syrian regime and Iran.
In July, the Italian authorities announced the seizure of 15.4 tons of Captagon pills made in Syria, which has become the largest producer and exporter of the drug.
The value of the seized Captagon pills, amounting to 15.4 tons, is estimated at $1.3 billion.
The seized drugs were kept so carefully that airport scanners failed to detect them, according to Domenico Napolitano, a police official in Naples, Italy.
Also in July, the Greek authorities confiscated a large shipment of Captagon pills coming from Syria, worth more than half a billion dollars.
Earlier, in April, the Russian police seized a shipment of drugs worth more than $200,000 in the town of Ma’riba in the Damascus countryside. The drugs belonged to a leader of Hezbollah and were equipped for sale in the Syrian markets.
In fact, drug trafficking and money laundering are among Hezbollah’s main sources of funding, especially in recent years, as the militia aims to secure its necessary financing after the decline in Iranian financial support due to the deteriorating economic situation that Tehran suffers from as a result of the international sanctions imposed on it.
A report by the German website Auditor Online concluded that Syria has become a hotspot for drug production and a platform for its export to other countries, including the West.
It attributed the reason to Iran and Hezbollah exploiting Syrian lands in criminal activities, most notably the manufacture and export of drugs.
“Iran is financially troubled, and Hezbollah is in desperate need of money after the US sanctions hit Tehran,” the website said.
Recently, a Lebanese citizen named Ghassan Diab was extradited from Cyprus to the United States after he was accused of laundering drug money for Hezbollah.
According to the US Department of Justice, Diab was accused of “conspiring to launder drug money to support the global network of Hezbollah.”
The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which is in charge of the Justice Department’s Counterterrorism Operations Center of the Special Operations Division, started about thirty years ago to follow up on Hezbollah’s activity related to drug trafficking and money laundering used to finance its terrorist operations. The agency had stopped the sale of tons of cocaine shipments, which were carried out by Hezbollah’s partners in cooperation with the Colombian drug cartel La Oficina de Envigado.