RELEASE: Hill & Boyle Introduce Bill to Disrupt and Dismantle Assad’s Narcotics Production and Trafficking

WASHINGTON, D.C. , December 15, 2021

Congressman French Hill (AR-02) and Rep. Brendan Boyle (PA-02) yesterday introduced the bipartisan Countering Assad’s Proliferation, Trafficking, and Garnering of Narcotics (CAPTAGON) Act (H.R. 6265). It would require the federal government to develop an interagency strategy to disrupt and dismantle narcotics production and trafficking and affiliated networks linked to the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria.

“The U.S. government must do all it can to disrupt the industrial level of drug production currently taking place in Syria. Since 2018, narcotic production and trafficking in Syria has turned Syria into a narco-state to fund its crimes against humanity. It is important we stop this trafficking and source of illicit finance. If we fail to do so, then the Assad regime will continue to drive the ongoing conflict, provide a lifeline to extremist groups, and permit American adversaries such as China, Russia, and Iran to strengthen their engagement there – posing an ever-larger threat to Israel and other partners in the region,” said Rep. Hill.  “I’m pleased my friend Rep. Boyle joined me in co-sponsoring this important legislation, and I thank the Republican Study Committee for their work on this important issue.” 

“In recent years, the lucrative and illicit Captagon trade has enabled the Assad regime to carry out atrocities against the Syrian people by allowing it to subvert the impact of international sanctions”, said Congressman Boyle. “It is imperative that the U.S. takes a leading role in thwarting narcotics production in Syria so we can continue to pursue a political settlement and permanent resolution to the conflict, as outlined in UNSCR 2254. I’m proud to join my colleague Rep. Hill in introducing legislation that will do just that.”

Further Background:

In the House-passed version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2022, Rep. Hill included a provision to disrupt and dismantle the Assad regime’s illicit narcotic production and trafficking in Syria.

While that amendment was stripped out from the final version of the FY 2022 NDAA, the Joint Explanatory Statement for the NDAA included the following language: “We note that the Captagon trade is a cause of instability in the Middle East that has negative implications for the national security of the United States and its allies and partners. We support development of a strategy to guide appropriate action against narcotics production and trafficking and affiliated networks linked to the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.”

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