Army raid on Lebanon alleged drug kingpin kills eight

Army raid on Lebanon alleged drug kingpin kills eight
2 min read
23 July, 2018
The Lebanse army said it detained a further 41 people in the raid, six of whom were wounded in the clashes.
Drug production in the Bekaa Valley has become a multi-million-dollar industry. [Getty]

Eight people were killed in eastern Lebanon in an army raid on the home of a suspected drug trafficking baron, the armed forces announced on Monday.

"An army unit raided the house of Ali Zayd Ismail, wanted on several counts of drug trafficking in the area of al-Hamudiya-Brital," in the eastern Bekaa Valley, the army said.

"The unit was shot at... forcing the force's members to retaliate, which led to the killing of eight gunmen," it said in a statement. 

The army said it detained a further 41 people, six of whom were wounded in the clashes. Troops seized weapons and drugs in the raid.

The statement did not say whether Ismail, a notorious figure in the country, was among those killed or arrested, but an army source told AFP that he was killed in the raid and identified by a relative. 

In April, the army seized 20 kilogrammes of the drug captagon from an abandoned house they said Ismail was using in Brital.

Captagon is classified by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime as an "amphetamine-type stimulant" and usually blends amphetamines, caffeine and other substances.

In December, the army seized 800 kilogrammes of cannabis from Ismail's home.

Consuming, growing and selling marijuana are all illegal in Lebanon.

Production of the drug is widespread in the long-marginalised Bekaa Valley, making it a multi-million-dollar industry.

The Lebanese parliament is soon to review legislation to legalise medicinal marijuana, its speaker Nabih Berri said last week.

The move comes after a consulting firm, charged with setting a vision to kickstart the Lebanese economy, suggested legalising and regulating the production and sale of marijuana.