BEIRUT — Two Syrians and a Lebanese were arrested on suspicion of involvement in drug trafficking from Beirut International Airport to Turkey, the Internal Security Forces (ISF) reported Saturday. The three individuals are suspected of trafficking hashish hidden inside chocolate wrappers.
In a statement, the police said that BIA security personnel searched a Syrian citizen, aged 24, who was due to travel to Turkey. He is said to have been carrying 16 rectangular pieces of hashish packaged within chocolate bar wrappers, weighing 1.27 kilos, and packed in a suitcase. The product was seized.
The investigation determined that the individual is employed to transport goods between Lebanon, Syria and Turkey. The ISF said that he has admitted to the accusations against him, but added that another man had asked him to transport the goods and that he "was unaware that they contained drugs."
The suspect said a further 20 boxes of "chocolate" were ready for shipment. A police raid resulted in the seizure of a further 24 kg of drugs, and the arrest of two other people: a 52-year-old Lebanese national, and a 22-year-old Syrian national. An investigation is underway to identify other suspects.
For several years now the Lebanese authorities have been stepping up efforts to combat drug trafficking from or through Lebanon, a practice regularly criticized by Arab Gulf states.
Captagon, an amphetamine derived from a psychotropic drug that is very popular in the Middle East and the Gulf, is among the substances regularly seized by security forces.