US designates individuals, including Assad's cousins, in drug export

US designates individuals, including Assad's cousins, in drug export

Designations ‘highlight the important role of Lebanese drug traffickers,’ says Treasury Department

By Servet Gunerigok

WASHINGTON (AA) - The US Treasury Department, in coordination with the UK, designated six individuals Tuesday for supporting the Bashar al-Assad regime and the production or export of Captagon, a dangerous amphetamine.

Among those designated are two cousins of Assad and Lebanese individuals.

The agency said in a statement that the designations also highlight the important role of Lebanese drug traffickers, some of whom it said maintain ties to Hezbollah, in facilitating the export of Captagon.

"The trade in Captagon is estimated to have become a billion-dollar illicit enterprise," it said.

Samer Kamal al-Assad, a cousin of Assad, oversees key Captagon production facilities in regime-controlled Latakia. Wassim Badi al-Assad, another cousin of Assad, is designated for supporting the Syrian army in various roles, according to the statement.

Hassan Muhammad Daqqou, a Lebanese-Syrian dual national, who is dubbed by the media as "The King of Captagon," has been linked to drug trafficking operations carried out by the Syrian army's Fourth Division.

"Syria has become a global leader in the production of highly addictive Captagon, much of which is trafficked through Lebanon," OFAC Director Andrea Gacki said in the statement.

"With our allies, we will hold accountable those who support Bashar al-Assad’s regime with illicit drug revenue and other financial means that enable the regime’s continued repression of the Syrian people," he added.

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