Arrest warrant issued for Beirut Port customs chief

Arrest warrant issued for Beirut Port customs chief
2 min read
06 November, 2020
The customs chief was accused of lifting a travel ban on a Saudi Prince after he was inprisoned for smuggling two tonnes of an amphetamine-based drug known as 'Captagon'.
Badri Daher had also been detained for his role in the Beirut port explosion. [Getty]
A Beirut judge issued an arrest warrant on Tuesday night against Lebanese customs chief Badri Daher, over accusations of bribery, mismanagement of public funds, and allowing a Saudi official to leave Lebanon without repercussions after a drug deal. 

Daher had already been detained for almost three months, due to alleged negligence which may have helped cause the port explosion which ravaged the city, and killed over 200 people.  

The customs chief was accused of lifting a travel ban on a Saudi Prince, Abdel Mohsen Bin Walid Bin Abdulaziz, after he was inprisoned for smuggling two tonnes of an amphetamine-based drug known as 'Captagon'.

Daher violated Lebanese custom law which states that a person cannot leave the country after being found guilty of drug-trafficking unless they pay a fine of up to triple the amount worth of goods they attempted to smuggle.

Documents seen by Al Jazeera suggested that Daher made a compromise with the Saudi Prince. 

Judge Charbel Abu Samra issued the warrant after Daher was interrogated by the financial public prosecutor last month. This came after a a joint effort by investigative journalist Riad Kobaissi and a legal team to bring changes against Daher.  

Captagon is also one of the most commonly used drugs in the Syrian conflict, where fighters say it helps them stay awake for days and numbs their senses, giving them stamina for long battles.

Lebanon has previously stopped several shipments of the drug to Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia.

In April, Lebanese police seized more than 800,000 captagon pills they said were worth more than $12 million, in an operation coordinated with Saudi authorities.

In July last year, at least eight people involved in drug trafficking were killed and about 40 arrested in an exchange of fire with soldiers during an operation in eastern Lebanon, the army said.

In one of the country's largest busts, Lebanon arrested a Saudi prince and four other Saudi nationals in October 2015 for attempting to smuggle out nearly two tonnes of captagon via Beirut's airport.

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