The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned 11 individuals and entities supporting the regime of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad through the facilitation of illicit financial transfers and trafficking of illegal drugs, as well as the extraction and export of Syrian commodities, including the drug of Captagon, a highly addictive amphetamine-type stimulant trafficked illegally throughout the Middle East and Europe, referring to three shipments seized in Libya coming from Syria. 

The US Treasury cited the name Mahmoud Abulilah Al-Dj as being responsible for leading the operations behind multiple Captagon shipments, including the Noka shipment seized by Greek authorities and three shipments that were seized in Libya. 

"Al-Dj also serves as the exclusive agent for designated Syrian airline Cham Wings in Libya. Al-Dj used his Syria-based company Al-Ta’ir Company (Al-Ta’ir) to receive cargo tied to Captagon shipments and open a major smuggling line linking Lattakia to Benghazi, which has resulted in huge profits for Captagon traffickers." The Treasury's statement said.

It added that Al-Dj registered an additional company, FreeBird Travel and Tourism (FreeBird), after he was convicted for drug smuggling in Libya and Al-Ta’ir became subject to legal prosecution for human trafficking and drug smuggling.

OFAC is designating Al-Dj pursuant to E.O. 13582 for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, the government of Syria. OFAC is designating Al-Ta’ir and FreeBird pursuant to E.O. 13582 for being owned or controlled by, or having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Al-Dj.

Last December, a study prepared by the American non-governmental organization “The Century” said that the drug trade is the fastest growing trade in Libya, saying it had become an integrated center for the drug trade across continents.

It specifically referred to Captagon smuggled from Syria, estimating the size of the drug industry being smuggled from Syria to countries in the region at about 10 billion dollars. It stated that evidence indicates the possibility that manufacturing devices are already in use inside Libya.