A few days ago, the country was buzzing with the news of the arrest of an influential businessman by the name “Hassan Mohamad Daqo” who is sponsored by the majority of the local powers, and in particular by the 4th brigade of the Syrian Army as well as Hezbollah. His arrest was preceded by the decision of Saudi Arabia to ban Lebanese agricultural exports from entering the country after the discovery of 5 million ‘Captagon’ pills hidden inside a shipment of Syrian pomegranates. This shipment was brought in from Syria into Lebanon where its documents of origin were forged, as it passed through the usual security and political coverage.
Following the commencement of the investigation, key clues were uncovered in the case. Judicial sources announced to Janoubia that preliminary leads indicating the involvement of the son of the former minister Mahmoud Qomati, Haytham, in a ‘suspicious’ work relationship with Hassan Daqo who is currently under arrest for his responsibility for the ‘Captagon’ shipment.
Sources also quoted security officials confirming that “Hezbollah” is inducting internal investigations with Qomati’s son over the matter. They also indicate that the Maytham Qomati will be summoned in the upcoming days by the Information Branch which conducts judicial investigations that are currently close to completion.
Hezbollah’s Long History with Captagon
While Hezbollah’s support base aspire for their cities and towns to become a miniature modal of the fair state vision Hezbollah calls for, reality is far different. These cities and towns are being transformed into military centers mired with corruption, drugs, and chaos. The question remains: Have the party’s funding sources begun to dry up following Saudi’s increased seriousness in pursuing drug operations? Despite uncovering a large number of manufacturing plants and all the accompanying media hype and political exploitation of every arrest and thwarted operation, Lebanon remains one of the leading countries in the manufacture and export of ‘Captagon’. Moreover, it is a safe harbor passage towards the Gulf market for tons of these traffickers to send their shipments creatively hidden inside different vessels, most recent of which were pomegranates.
Anyone looking to investigate the spread of drug manufacturing operation does not require much effort to discover that these areas, such as Baalback and Dahyeh, are the home for both these drug operations and Hezbollah operatives. Hezbollah are the closest to these producers and smugglers; both in public and private. They are their protectors from the law, and from everything else by their religious Fatwas.
The Beginnings During the Syrian Revolution
If we should summarize the first wave of the Lebanese ‘Captagon’ and its most prominent moments, we must start with the Syrian revolution and specifically in 2012 when the red tape of the first factory, built under a religious estate in Baalback, was cut. This was done under the patronage and blessing of Hashem al-Mousawi, brother of prominent Hezbollah leader and former MP, Hussein Al-Mousawi. At the time, the pill was called the ‘blessed pill’ or the ‘Sayyed’s pill’, and it became widely popular causing Hezbollah significant embarrassment. Following the fact, they announced that Hezbollah is not in any way affiliated with this operation, as they allowed the prosecution of those involved in related cases. However, this did not stop them from simultaneously allowing Mr. Hashem to travel to Iran where he remains a fugitive until this day.
The Prince of Captagon
In 2015, Prince Abdul Mohsen Bin AbdulAziz Al-Saoud, known as the “Prince of Captagon” was arrested in Beirut International Airport after attempting to smuggle 1900 Kg of ‘Captagon’ Pills. He was sentenced to 6 years of prison while Hezbollah breathed a sigh of relief. Ironically, Hezbollah invested in the case and accused the Kingdom of being involved in drug trade while simultaneously denying their own involvement in the drug trade; despite all the evidence and suspicions surrounding them.
We will not delve too much into the names of the drug traffickers close to Hezbollah who have been exposed or who remain protected. Sheikh Ghazwan was not the first nor the last of them. In 2018, he was apprehended on a security checkpoint at Dahr el-Baydar during which a huge amount of Captagon pills, marijuana, and other narcotics were found in his possession. The drugs were estimated to be worth around $75 million and were set to be smuggled outside Lebanon. He was immediately released after direct intervention by the head of Hezbollah’s Liaison and Coordination Unit. Today, the story is concluded by Hassan Daqo, on of Hezbollah’s financiers and one of the biggest traders and exporters of narcotic filled fruits to Saudi Arabia.
Daqu, Hezbollah, and Tufayl
In the beginning of this year, Hezbollah announced that it had donated 600 million Liras to support electricity production in the town of Tufayl which is on the border with Syria. In fact, it was Daqu who provided this amount to Hezbollah in exchange for improving his image following several warnings he had received from security and judicial authorities. What followed was that Hezbollah MP Dr. Ibrahim Mousawi gathered a crowd of notable individuals and religious figures in the area, and he spoke to Daqu while announcing to them saying: “If this is the spirit and ethic you abide by, and if you are honest with God, then he is with you.” He continued in this video that has since spread across social media by saying: “So that my words are not only praise to you, what you’re doing is right, and it is what perpetuations glory because it is in accordance with God.”
Moussawi did not know that reign of the King of Captagon and the well of money is about to come to an end.