Mobile  |  About us  |  Photos  |  Videos  |  Subscriptions  |  RSS Feeds  |  Today's Paper  |  Classifieds  |  Contact Us
The Daily Star
THURSDAY, 17 APR 2014
06:53 AM Beirut time
Weather    
Beirut
17 °C
Blom Index
BLOM
1,214.01down
Lebanon News
Follow this story Print RSS Feed ePaper share this
Customs agents seize drug laboratory, complete with instructions
The confiscated equipment was on display under armed guard at the conference. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
The confiscated equipment was on display under armed guard at the conference. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
A+ A-

BEIRUT: Customs agents at the Port of Beirut have foiled an attempt to smuggle “a complete laboratory for the production of drugs into Lebanon,” acting director of Customs Shafiq Merhi said Wednesday.

Speaking at a news conference in a Beirut Port warehouse, Merhi described how agents working with the Customs General Directorate’s anti-drug division discovered the equipment in a shipping container that had arrived in Beirut from China 10 days earlier.

Agents became suspicious “that there were prohibited goods inside the container, so they proceeded to unpack its contents and found segments and parts for motorbikes,” Merhi said.

But on closer inspection, Customs officers saw that a number of undeclared items had also been hidden behind the bike parts, including glass tubes, a centrifuge, measuring equipment and filters.

The confiscated equipment, which was on display under armed guard at the conference, bore instructions and markings in Chinese.

Officers found a plastic container labeled in English “engine oil,” filled with chemicals used to manufacture drugs, as well as several bags of sodium hydroxide, a chemical compound sometimes used in the purification of heroin.

In the same container, Customs agents found equipment used to manufacture Captagon, a stimulant with amphetamine-like effects, which is banned in Lebanon.

The haul was accompanied by an illustrated manual detailing in Chinese how to assemble and use the machinery, “which together forms a comprehensive laboratory to produce the components of heroin and opium, and the active ingredients of cocaine,” Merhi said.

Although investigations into the seizure are ongoing, five people have already been arrested in connection with the incident, and authorities are currently seeking three more believed to be linked to the shipment.

Merhi stressed that Customs agents regularly carry out such operations away from the eyes of the media.

“We have made numerous seizures and investigate them every day, and we do not cover them in the media.”

However, Customs officials have had a number of recent high-profile successes against drug smuggling. In August, officers at Rafik Hariri International Airport detained two Australians who were trying to smuggle cocaine out of the country, and Beirut Port agents foiled an attempt to ship 8 kilograms of heroin to Belgium.

Merhi vowed that the department would remain alert to other attempts to bring contraband into Lebanon through its international borders.

“Despite the difficult circumstances we are living in, we promise to remain on guard and vigilant in order to collect revenues for the treasury at full capacity, and to foil any smuggling attempts.”

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on September 13, 2012, on page 3.
Home Lebanon News
 
     
 
Lebanon
Advertisement
Comments  

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

comments powered by Disqus
More from
Tom Little
 
 
As protests rage, Egypt’s tourism buried alive
 
 
Tourists desert Egypt as protests rage
 
 
Egypt begins work on charter as Islamists press demos
 
 
Syrian author’s homage to hate
 
 
New centers to educate adolescents on sexual abuse
Advertisement


Baabda 2014
Advertisement
Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Linked In Follow us on Google+ Subscribe to our Live Feed
Multimedia
Images  
Pictures of the day
A selection of images from around the world- Tuesday April 15, 2014
View all view all
Advertisement
Rami G. Khouri
Rami G. Khouri
Silencing Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s hate talk
Michael Young
Michael Young
Why confuse gibberish with knowledge?
David Ignatius
David Ignatius
Putin will keep rolling, until Obama says no
View all view all
Advertisement
cartoon
 
Click to View Articles
 
 
News
Business
Opinion
Sports
Culture
Technology
Entertainment
Privacy Policy | Anti-Spamming Policy | Disclaimer | Copyright Notice
© 2014 The Daily Star - All Rights Reserved - Designed and Developed By IDS