US to support Jordan in countering drug smuggling

Captagon flows from Syria to Jordan have risen to top of regional security agenda

Seized drugs at an anti-narcotics department in Amman April 2, 2013. Reuters
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The US will support Jordan in countering drug smuggling, the American ambassador in Amman said on Thursday after signing a co-operation agreement with the kingdom's police.

Over the past few years, drug trafficking into Jordan from Syria, particularly of the stimulant known as Captagon, has increased, with criminals using the kingdom as a distribution centre from which the drugs are sent to Saudi Arabia and other countries.

US ambassador Henry Wooster said the new agreement will help Jordan “combat drug smuggling, achieve justice for the victims of the crimes and support police forces across the kingdom”, a US embassy statement read.

The statement did not give details.

Mr Wooster signed the agreement on behalf of the US Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) with Obaidallah Al Maaytah, head of Jordan's General Security Directorate,

The INL aims to curb the production of opioids and other drugs outside the US by tracking “vulnerabilities at each level of the international supply chain”.

The division of the US State Department uses “a wide range of tools to counter crime, illegal drugs and instability abroad, including foreign assistance”, its website said.

Captagon shipments into Jordan pass through the country before crossing into Saudi Arabia, a main destination for the drug.

Jordan is one of the top recipients of American aid. Amman signed a military pact with Washington last year and several thousand US troops are stationed in the country.

The Jordanian military said at the beginning of this year that it had started to use more force to deter smugglers on the Syrian border as Jordanian official media highlighted drug seizures in the area.

Over the past few months, Jordanian officials have increasingly accused pro-Iranian militias operating in southern Syria of being the main drivers of the Captagon trade, though they avoided directly criticising Tehran.

Last week, the kingdom's military said that Jordanian navy boats had thwarted an attempt to smuggle drugs into the country from the Red Sea.

Updated: October 06, 2022, 5:38 PM