BEIRUT: Three policemen were wounded Wednesday during an operation to capture a man authorities called “one of the most dangerous and prominent” drug dealers in Lebanon.
A security source told The Daily Star that officials from the Anti-Drug Department’s regional office in the Bekaa Valley stormed the house of alleged drug dealer Ali al-Mawla in the town of Harbta Wednesday morning. The squad exchanged gunfire with Mawla and his bodyguards, during which three policemen and two of the gunmen were wounded. The police used rubber bullets, the source said.
Eventually authorities managed to capture and arrest Mawla and six of his aides, including two Syrians.
Mawla is wanted on more than 450 arrest warrants and convictions, including life-time prison for drug crimes and opening fire on security forces with intent to kill, according to Anti-Drug Department officials in the Bekaa.
When police entered Mawla’s residence, they found various kinds of drugs including captagon and cannabis, along with rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons.
The drug dealer and his aides were transferred to the Anti-Drug Department’s regional office in Zahle.
Separately, the National News Agency reported that a unit from the Anti-Drug Department arrested Mohammad Ajami for captagon manufacturing and dealing.
Ajami, from the Zahle village of Majdal Anjar, confessed during interrogation that he cooperated with Omar Saleh, a local pharmacist who owns a business in Majdal Anjar, to manufacture the drug.
Ajami said Saleh bought the ingredients while he was responsible for the manufacture and sale of the product. Saleh was arrested and about a ton of the products used in manufacturing captagon were confiscated from a warehouse in the village. Both detainees were then transferred to the Hobeish police station in Beirut along with the evidence.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on October 03, 2013, on page 4.