AMMAN -- Jordan's judiciary on Thursday (December 15) sentenced two men to long prison terms for attempting to smuggle nearly two million Captagon pills into the country from Syria, a judicial source said.
The state security court handed a 20-year prison term and a fine of 20,000 JOD ($28,000) to one of those convicted -- a Syrian -- and a 10-year-term, along with a 10,000-JOD fine, to a Jordanian, the source said.
The two men had attempted to smuggle more than 1.9 million Captagon pills from Syria to Jordan in 2021, the source added.
The pills were found by narcotics officers in wood-burning stoves.
The sentences come as Jordan continues to thwart smugglers at its frontier with Syria, where the southern provinces of Sweida and Daraa have become a hub for Lebanese Hizbullah's regional drug smuggling operations.
The border area has become a "hot transit corridor" for drug trafficking and smuggling into Jordan, Syrian researcher Turki Mustafa told Al-Mashareq.
Smugglers thwarted at border
In a Wednesday statement, the Jordan Customs Department (JCD) said customs and security personnel at the Jaber/Nassib crossing with Syria had thwarted an attempt to smuggle 200,000 Captagon pills into the kingdom.
The 36kg of illegal drugs was concealed in a refrigerator truck loaded with fruits, the Jordanian news agency, Petra, reported.
Separately, customs agents at the same crossing also seized 2.5kg of crystal meth, which was hidden in a public passenger vehicle with a foreign plate.
Crystal methamphetamine, an illicit drug that can cause severe physical and psychological problems, has become an increasing problem in southern Iraq.
The drug is smuggled into Iraq via its eastern border with Iran, via secret crossings and water channels in the marshlands, and onward through the region.
At dawn Tuesday, Jordanian forces thwarted an attempt to infiltrate and smuggle large quantities of narcotic substances into Jordan from Syria, Petra said.
In co-ordination with military security agencies and the Anti-Narcotics Department (AND), Border Guard surveillance units tracked an attempt by a group of smugglers to cross Jordan's border illegally from Syria, it said.
Rapid response patrols moved to the site and applied rules of engagement, shooting at the smugglers. Some were injured, and others retreated into Syria.
During a search of the area, 200,000 Captagon pills and 581 palm-sized sheets of hashish were found.
On Sunday, AND arrested three drug dealers in possession of "large quantities of narcotics" in two separate cases in Mafraq and Ramtha, an official source told Petra.
AND seized 10,000 narcotic pills and a firearm from two traffickers in Ramtha; and in Mafraq, following a tip-off, police stopped and arrested a driver as he attempted to transport seven blocks of hashish and 1,000 narcotic pills, it said.
Situated north of Amman, Mafraq is on the main route to Syria in the north and Iraq to the east. Ramtha is near the border with Syria.
Jordanian security forces have tightened border controls in recent years, thwarting drug smugglers and making a number of significant arrests.