Turkish UAV drone stops 1.5 tons of marijuana being smuggled out of Syria

Using a UAV to track and catch drug smugglers at sea represents a unique capability for the Turkish employment of UAVs, which can stay aloft for many hours and scan wide areas.

Marijuana plants Border Police found and burnt on May 3 2020 in the Negev, the plants were grown inside an IDF training zone  (photo credit: POLICE SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
Marijuana plants Border Police found and burnt on May 3 2020 in the Negev, the plants were grown inside an IDF training zone
(photo credit: POLICE SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
Turkey has used its coast guard and specially operated drones to track and catch drug smugglers off the coast of Syria.
According to the statement by Turkish Minister of the Interior Suleyman Soylu, Turkey was able to interdict 1.5 tons of cannabis off of the Syrian coast. He praised God for the effective operation, calling it a great success. 
Due to the Turkish security forces use of a drone the shipment was tracked and seized. The report points out that this is not the first major drug shipment caught in the Mediterranean by Turkey; it has grabbed drug smugglers off the coast before, by using commandos in the 1990s, and in 2017 they found 71 kilograms of heroin. 

According to the Turkish report several coast guard vessels were involved in the operation along with the drone. Turkey has pioneered new drone technology, building many of its own drones, such as the Bayraktar model which has been used in Syria, Libya, and exported to Azerbaijan. Turkey is also seeking exports to Ukraine, the Balkans and elsewhere.
Using a UAV to track and catch drug smugglers at sea represents a unique capability for the Turkish employment of UAVs, which can stay aloft for many hours and scan wide areas if they have the right optics and technology. Turkey appears to be learning new uses for its drone army, including employing them in support of the coast guard.
Syria is a center of drug smuggling, with the Assad regime even being implicated in a Captagon drug bust. In other cases, drugs were moved from Syria via Lebanon which was then followed by attempts to move them to Saudi Arabia.
Hezbollah, the terrorist group allied to the Syrian regime, has denied its role in smuggling amphetamines.
Drugs are sometimes concealed inside fruit or hidden in other unsuspecting ways on an industrial smuggling scale, according to reports. It is unclear if the cannabis shipment of 1.5 tons, which is not that much cannabis considering its law street value compared to other drugs, is linked to Syria, Lebanon or other groups. In June 2020 the US discovered 4.3 tones of marijuana in a truck travelling from Ontario to New York. Turkey found 2 tons of the psychoactive drug at a border crossing with Bulgaria in February 2020.