Know Thine Enemy

Excerpts from the book “Cocaine and Heroin Trafficking in The Caribbean – The Case of Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, and Guyana”, by Darius Figueira. This book is available at the UWI Bookshop and online on Amazon.com.

“The dominant race based illicit drug transhipping organisations/race groupings are:

The Syrian/Lebanese grouping. This grouping consists of crime families descended from Syrian and Lebanese immigrants to Trinbago and generations since born in Trinbago. ..The Syrian/Lebanese organisation has created a division of labour in which their illicit drug transhipping is masked by the legitimate front businesses and drug money laundering operations that pass for legitimate businesses.

…The Syrian/Lebanese organization was in the 1980s and 1990s heavily involved in the retailing of crack through Afro and Mixed Trinbagonians primarily in the East-West Corridor ofTrinidad. Crack retailing generated the cash flow for expansion in retailing and real estate speculation, which broke members of the group out of traditional pursuits as the importation, wholesaling and retailing of fabrics and garment production. In the late 1980s in Trinidad a number of illicit drug trafficking entrepreneurs had arisen moving product out of Trinidad to the rest of the Caribbean as the US Virgin Islands, Turks and Caicos, St.Maarten, Europe and the US. In the late 1980s a turf war developed between these Afro-Trinbagonian independent illicit drug traffickers and the Syrian/Lebanese organisation. In the early 1990s this conflict would escalate into open turf warfare and the Syrian/Lebanese organisation provided the evidence to the DEA, British Customs and the illicit drug interdiction agency of theNetherlandsto bring these nascent independent trafficking organisations down. Zimmern Beharry and Dole Chadee would be famous victims of the Syrian/Lebanese backlash but a series of Afro-Trinbagonian traffickers unknown to the wider public would be killed, fled from Trinbago or were imprisoned in the US, Britain and other members of the European Union for daring to challenge Syrian/Lebanese hegemony over illicit drug retailing in the East-West Corridor of Trinidad. It is no coincidence that after the heady days of illicit drug interdiction and extradition of indicted traffickers to theUSin the 1990s there has been no activity of this intensity in the early years of the 21st Century inTrinidad and Tobago. There is no turf war between Trans-shipping organisations and the Afro-Trinbagonian threat has been neutralized and the race put back in its place as consumers of illicit drugs and as corrupt state officials and politicians serving the interests of the illicit drug trade.

The Syrian/Lebanese organisation has always made sure that it cultivated and wielded influence over the political parties ofTrinidad and Tobago. It is organically tied to the PNM but it has ensured that it exerted some influence over parties which formed governments other than the PNM from 1986 to 1991 (NAR) and from 1995 to 2000, and 2000 to 2001 (UNC). Its war against the Afro-Trinidadian independents prosecuted under the PNM government of 1991 to 1995 was continued and in fact expanded under the UNC government of 1995 to 2000, for it was under the UNC government that Zimmern Beharry was extradited to the US and Dole Chadee was hanged for murder. Under the UNC 1995 to 2000 the new generation of money launderers and illicit drug traffickers of the Syrian/Lebanese organisation rose to positions within the stat sector and wielded political influence previously denied them under the preceding PNM regimes. The UNC empowered a new generation within the Syrian/Lebanese organisation which influenced tensions within the organisation over succession of power that threatened to tear apart the organisation in public eyes for the first time ever in its career in illicit drug trafficking.”

0 thoughts on “Know Thine Enemy


  1. The Syrian/Lebanese connection was also responsible for the importation and sale of illicit drugs. Unfortunately, only one was caught and sent to jail while petty drug users are sent to prison almost on a daily basis.

    Like in Trinidad the Syrian/Lebanese laundered their ill-gotten gains in restaurants and other legitimate businesses.


  2. Like I had to tell a Texan recently, if there were no users there would be no pushers, no drug barons, no slaughter like we see, no drug production.
    The chain starts with the users as they are the ones financing the whole nasty business. they are slaughtering people in Mexico to satisfy users in other countries. Do the users care? Not one bit.
    Attacking the production and trafficking end has failed as I am sure every drug bust is one in perhaps thousands that slip through.
    The problem is closer to home than is acknowledged.


  3. What has become of Ibrahim Noumeh who owned Bionic Manshop? Didn’t the US government want him?

    What about those guys who owned Man Shop years ago?


  4. David, I think that you mean Ibrahim Naime who was wanted by the US over a stolen or forged passport racket. The lawyers wormed him out of it after he was held in jail in Trinidad for a fairly long time. As far as is known, he still runs Bionic Manshop.


  5. There was the Bionic Man Shop and there was the Man Shop.
    The Man Shop was on Mcgregor Street and the Bionic Man Shop was on the Kentucky side of Trident House.

    I do not know if the Principals are the same.


  6. @CF
    The real problem is that the drug barons are rich and the pols are obviously CORRUPT! It is TOTALLY IMPOSSIBLE for any police force NOT to know who the drug barons are in such small island communities, so logically the pols intercede to get a thick slice of the loot. Does anyone seriously believe that those in power are trying to stop the drug trade and its consequences???

    The ANSWER is to legalise everything and tax it! The benefits are 1 revenue versus costs 2 criminal activity and murders decrease dramatically since there would be NO big money returns after legalisation. Revenue should be used to educate/ train the errant youths formerly involved to conduct REAL WORK.


  7. Who are the prominent syrian/lebanese here in Barbados: Abeds,Haloute,Moses who is inter-married to an Abed,Naime etc.

    Then we have these sudden rich indians who started off with a mechanic shop in lakes folly,now they own a chain of retail stores in Bridgetown – talking about Adams whose sister was Billie Miller right hand woman and constituency branch chairman in the city.

    At one time (not sure if it is still so) Hafeza adams and billie miller owned mini buses together.
    Who will guard the Guards?

    Policemen,custom officers,immigration officers ,politicians are all targets for bribes once these syrian,indian and chineese mafia are around.


    • It is also generally known prominent members of the minority groups have ‘befriended’ senior members of immigration, NIS, Police, Politicians and the list is long.

      Just saying.


  8. It will only change under BENEVOLENT DICTATORSHIP!

    Why you think dey avoiding INTEGRITY LEGISLATION like it is EBOLA!

    It runs deep in Bdos. I remember back in 1978 when I returned from UNI in England, I was approached by someone from a good family, Christian, having gone to a good school, Foundation, and informed that I could get anything through the Port with a simple phone call. Imagine my horror that someone of such background would thus inform me. Incredible!


  9. I can say with authority that the Port corruption really kicked in when the Trinis started buying Bajan businesses! My brother was told by his Trini majority owners that paying off the Customs guys was part of doing business in Trin and he would have to comply. We sold our family interest within months BUT nothing improved since.


  10. @BU.David: “It is also generally known prominent members of the minority groups have ‘befriended’ senior members of immigration, NIS, Police, Politicians and the list is long.

    Wow. Is that really true?

    If it is, who is most at fault?

    Those who bought the favours…?

    Or those who sold them….?


    • @Chris

      This is not about who is at fault but ensuring we have decent systems in place to keep the system ‘honest’.


  11. @BU.David: “This is not about who is at fault but ensuring we have decent systems in place to keep the system ‘honest’.

    And how well is that working for you and yours?

    I would argue… Not at all well.

    But yet the system just keeps running.

    Hmmmmm….


  12. Quoting Darius Figueira “Zimmern Beharry and Dole Chadee would be famous victims of the Syrian/Lebanese backlash”

    My response: Beharry and Chadee are/were not victims. They got exactly what they deserved.

    Quoting Darius Figueira “Afro-Trinbagonian threat has been neutralized and the race put back in its place as consumers of illicit drugs and as corrupt state officials and politicians serving the interests of the illicit drug trade.:

    My response: Black people who decide to use drugs are not victims; state officials and politicians who take bribes are not victims.


  13. Quoting Chris Halsall ‘If it is, who is most at fault? Those who bought the favours…? Or those who sold them….?”

    If this was prostitution I would say that the person who bought the favour is most at fault, because at least the whore has to do some work for her money.

    Come to think of it the politicians who allow themselves to be bribed are most at fault. They have their tax hands deep in our pockets and yet still taking bribes form the dealer man?

    Shame on them.


  14. I don’t understand why people like money so much.

    Both politicians and business men dropping down like flies well before their 70th birthdays and still everybody so money hungry?

    Stupseee!!!!!!!!

    If money can’t buy health, or longevity, or happiness, or a good marriage, or decent respectful sons and daughters, what the hell is so special about it?


  15. Hell money can’t even buy a politician or a business man a decent head of hair.

    Witness all the shiny head 50 somethings we have ’bout the place.


  16. @Random Thoughts: “If this was prostitution I would say that the person who bought the favour is most at fault, because at least the whore has to do some work for her money.

    Why do you assume that the whore is a woman?


  17. @RT
    Ya was going good BUT ya had to bring up shiny head people. You dont know that people wid real brains does go bald in their 20s??????????

    Most unobservant of you!

    I have no problem with people attaining wealth. The big question is HOW?
    Corruption, thiefing,etc just does not cut it.


  18. Good Article.
    I have said this for years now that the so called good the Syrian/Lebanese provide to society is negated by the bad they commit.
    There are unique parallelisms in Jamaica, Trinidad and many smaller Caribbean islands that have sat idly by and let these people create deep problems in our societies

    Our economies today have been nurtured by many of these big drug dealers posing as decent business men with legitimate businesses presented as a front for what is really going down as nefarious business. This is all due to greed and they have no love for other ethnic groups.

    If proper research/investigation is not done to eradicate this cancer that many continue to deny, our region will be doom to failure……
    One day we will know who these so called “legitimate businessmen” who bankrolled the elections throughout the Caribbean are.

    We need CARICOM to have the power to investigate these people because individual countries will not do it because many politicians are on their payroll.

    MANY PEOPLE ARE HONEST BECAUSE THEY NEVER GET THE CHANCE TO STEAL.
    NOT BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT CAUGHT THAT DOES NOT STOP YOU FROM BEING A CRIMINAL.

    THE TRUTH LIKE OIL WILL FLOAT TO THE TOP.. .SLOWLY WITH TIME.

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