Saudi authorities foil attempt to smuggle tonnes of illegal drugs

Dozens arrested as security patrols seize large quantities of qat and hashish in Jazan and Asir

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The Saudi authoritieshave thwarted attempts to smuggle more than three tonnes of the narcotic qat and 772 kilograms of hashish in the kingdom's south-west.

In a report from the Saudi Press Agency on Wednesday, the Ministry of Interior said security patrols in the regions of Jazan and Asir arrested more than 80 suspects.

More than 200,000 tablets of an unspecified substance were also seized.

The suspects include 30 Saudi citizens, a Yemeni resident and 64 other people either from Yemen, Ethiopia or Eritrea.

Saudi Arabia’s border guards foiled another attempt in May to smuggle hundreds of kilograms of hashish and qat into the kingdom from Yemen to the southern regions of Jazan, Najran and Asir.

The kingdom is no stranger to drug smuggling, and it has dismantled numerous attempts over the past few years. Saudi customs and internal security units run world-class K-9 units to counter criminals trying to bring illegal drug shipments.

In August alone, Riyadh police arrested eight people and seized nearly 47 million amphetamine pills in a major drug raid.

The most common amphetamine being smuggled is known as Captagon, a synthetic drug that is cheap to produce and is often laced with unknown chemicals.

It has recently become popular among younger age groups, including students, some of whom have used the drug in attempts to enhance academic performance.

Updated: October 13, 2022, 8:20 AM