Saudi Arabia seizes 4.5 million Captagon pills at Jeddah port

Customs authority intercepts drugs hidden in shipment of oranges

Tens of millions of captagon pills are seized by police each year in the Gulf countries. AFP
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Saudi Arabia on Wednesday seized 4.5 million Captagon capsules hidden in hundreds of boxes of oranges in Jeddah Islamic Port.

The kingdom has for months been cracking down on illegal drug shipments, especially of Captagon – a synthetic amphetamine that is believed to be one of the most widely-used illegal drugs in the Middle East.

“The boxes were examined through X-ray machines at the port, which discovered a large quantity of Captagon pills hidden in the orange boxes,” said a statement by the kingdom’s Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority.

Those in the kingdom who were involved in the deal were found and arrested, it said.

It was not clear where the drugs were sent from.

The authority said its customs services “are equipped with the latest security technologies to help detect and thwart smuggling attempts and to stand in the way of organised campaigns led by hostile foreign parties that target the kingdom and its citizens”.

Last Saturday, authorities in the kingdom found 14.4 million amphetamine pills that were shipped from Lebanon and hidden in a shipment of iron plates.

In April, they said they discovered 5.3 million such pills hidden in pomegranate shipments from Lebanon.

"The quantities that were thwarted are enough to drown the entire Arab world, not just Saudi Arabia, in narcotics and psychotropic substances," said Walid Al Bukhari, Saudi ambassador to Beirut.

A suspect related to the case was arrested in Riyadh and referred to public prosecution, the authorities said.

Shortly after that seizure, the kingdom said it would ban Lebanese agricultural imports as a result of the increase in the number of attempts to smuggle narcotics.

Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain and the UAE support the ban.

After the April seizure, about 2.3 million Captagon pills were found in a lorry that arrived in the country at the port in Jeddah.

Video footage released by the authority shows customs officials cutting into the floor of the refrigerated lorry using a flame torch and pulling bags of the pills from hiding places.

Four non-Saudis were arrested in connection with the incident.


Updated: June 30, 2021, 3:47 PM
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