Notorious cartel smuggler on Jordan’s wanted list arrested in southern Syria

(File photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — According to several media outlets, Marai Ruwaishid Al-Ramathan, nicknamed Abu Hamza, considered the most notorious drug dealer and smuggler in southern Syria and the main arm of the Lebanese militia Hezbollah in transporting drugs into Jordan, was arrested last week in As-Suwayda governorate, south of Syria.اضافة اعلان

Media sources said that Ramathan was arrested by Abu Shuaib Muhammad Ghalia, the deputy head of the Syrian regime’s Military Security Detachment in the city of Salkhad, south of As-Suwayda, who was considered one of his closest associates for long periods of time. He was handed over to the Military Security Department of the Syrian government in Damascus.

The handing over of Ramathan by Abu Shuaib was part of a major deal to get the latter clear of charges related to the illegal drug trade.

Syrian activist Hamza Al-Maroufi confirmed that Abu Shuaib was interrogated a few days ago on charges of drug dealing and trafficking across the border with Jordan, which led to Ramathan’s arrest.

According to him, the military security is trying to “present a clean face of the regime” to the world, specifically to Jordan, but the arrest could also be part of a power struggle over spoils and positions within the Syrian security branches, which have become totally dependent on drug smuggling and trafficking.

Maroufi added that this struggle may have been the reason the head of the Military Security branch in the south, Brig. Genl Louay Al-Ali, traveled from his headquarters in Daraa to Damascus, to meet with the head of the department, Maj. Gen Kifah Al-Mulhim, at a time information was leaked about disputes between the two men competing for power. This, he added, led to the arrest of Ramathan and his transfer directly to Damascus.

Ramathan, who hails from the village of Al-Sha’ab in the far southeast of As-Suwayda governorate, is considered one of the most important drug dealers, and the foremost smuggler of drugs from Syria to Jordan, according to numerous media reports that spoke of his direct relationship with the Syrian Military Security and his coordination with drug gangs in the south that are affiliated with Hezbollah, including the Raji Falhout gang, against which the people of As-Suwayda revolted last July, and the Nasser Al-Saadi gang stationed in Salkhad.

Ramathan is known for his direct relationship with Hezbollah agents and Iranian forces in southern Syria; media reports point to his previous partnership with a drug dealer called Ahmed Jaafar Abu Yassin, who was killed in Salkhad in 2018.

Ramathan is also considered one of the most notorious gangsters associated with security agents in southern Syria.

His drug-smuggling activities caused a major crisis on the Jordanian-Syrian border, prompting Jordan to reinforce its forces at its northern border. Jordan’s armed forces constantly clash with drug smugglers; the army announced that it killed and injured many smugglers in the past few months, and confiscated large quantities of drugs.

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