Jordanian cannabis dealer jailed for 15 years

Jordan has sentenced a drug dealer who operated near its border with Syria to 15 years in jail, official TV reported on Sunday.

Authorities are taking a tough stance against narcotics coming from Syria, which Jordanian officials describe as a threat to the kingdom’s security.

They say curbing the flow has been a main factor behind a drive for a rapprochement with Syrian President Bashar Al Assad in recent years.

Official TV said the dealer, whose name was withheld, had been in custody since October, when authorities seized 77 tonnes of hashish and 315,000 Captagon pills on a property he owns in the North Badia region.

His case was referred to the Security Court, a special court that conducts its proceedings in secret, because of “the gravity of his actions” and “the impact of the crime on the security and safety of Jordanian society”, the station said.

Jordan’s northern desert-like region, known as Badia, is the main corridor for a multibillion-dollar-a year-trade in Captagon and other drugs, Arab security officials say.

The narcotics, they say, flow mostly from areas in southern Syria — under the control of the Syrian military and allied militias supported by Iran — into Jordan and then to Saudi Arabia.

Last week, a drug dealer operating on the Syrian side of the border was reportedly killed in an air raid, together with his seven children. No one claimed responsibility for the raid but Jordanian state media said he was wanted in the kingdom on drug-smuggling charges.

This month, Jordan hosted a meeting of the Syrian, Saudi and Egyptian foreign ministers, which focused on the regional drugs trade, days before Damascus was reinstated into the Arab League.

Syria’s membership was frozen in November 2011, after the regime sent tanks into Syrian cities to crush a peaceful revolt that erupted in March of the same year against five decades of Assad family rule.

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