Jordanian army downs drone carrying drugs from Syria

Official photos show drone with parcels of a nerve drug

Parcels of drugs were strapped to small black drone, which the military said it downed after it crossed from Syria. Photo: Jordan Armed Forces
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The Jordanian military has foiled an attempt to smuggle drugs from Syria by drone, the army said.

The kingdom has what officials describe as a major drug problem that has caused foreign policy ramifications. Domestic consumption has risen sharply in the past three years, during which Jordan has become a regional transit centre for addictive pills, mainly the amphetamine Captagon.

Photos distributed by the army showed parcels of drugs strapped to small black drone, which the military said it downed after it crossed from Syria on Saturday.

The parcels contained pills packaged as Galica 300, a commercial name for the nerve drug Pregabalin, the photos showed.

"The drone was controlled and downed and a volume of drug substances were found,” an army statement said.

The Jordanian army says it has seized a drone carrying drugs from Syria. Photo: Jordan Armed Forces

Security officials in Jordan and the Gulf say illegal pills worth billions of dollars on the street are manufactured in Syrian regime areas and smuggled by cartels linked to militias in Iran and Jordan.

Most are then smuggled from Jordan to inner Arabia, and some to Israel, they say.

Failure to curb the drug trade marred relations between Amman and Riyadh and was thought to be a driving force behind a policy by Jordan to have accommodated the regime of Bashar Al Assad since 2019.

Russia encouraged the rapprochement, which diplomats in Amman say has cooled since Moscow's assault on Ukraine because of misgivings from the US, Jordan’s main financial and military supporter.

The Jordanian military regularly announces drug busts on the border with Syria in operations that can involve gun battles with smugglers.

Updated: May 15, 2022, 10:34 AM