The Interior Ministry said yesterday that it had arrested 634 drug smugglers and traffickers including 207 Saudis during the past three months.
Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki, spokesman of the ministry said the arrested criminals had attempted to smuggle various types of drugs worth SR 886.31 million.
The arrested men included 174 Yemenis and 253 foreigners belonged to 32 countries. The arrest took place during the Hijri months of Shawwal, Dul Qaada and Dul Hijjah.
“Saudi security officers faced armed confrontation from the smugglers,” the spokesman said. In such gun battles 12 policemen were injured while two died and four injured among the smugglers.
Spelling out the different types of drugs seized from smugglers, he said they included 7.4 kg of heroin, 10,623 kg of hashish and more than 1.55 million amphetamine tablets.
Police have also seized cash worth SR 11.07 million from the smugglers and traffickers during the operations that took place in various parts of the country.
The spokesman commended the efforts of border guards, customs officers and other security agents in preventing drug smuggling and arresting drug traffickers.
Gen. Al-Turki said security officers had arrested 762 people in Jamad Al-Awwal, Jamad Al-Thani, Rajab, Shaaban and Ramadan.
Drug abuse is a major problem facing the Kingdom. The government has adopt tough measures to prevent criminals from bringing narcotics into the Kingdom.
According to a previous report security forces seized SR1.7 billion worth of narcotics and arrested 681 men involved in drug smuggling and trafficking in four months.
“While 96 arrested men were Saudis, 585 of them belonged to 33 nationalities,” Al-Turki said in a press conference in Riyadh. Al-Turki said 20 officers were injured in 43 operations against drug smugglers during this period.
The forces seized 6.3 kg of heroin, 10.61 tons of hashish, 13.26 million narcotic pills, and 1.69 kg of cocaine, apart from SR16.73 million in cash from the smugglers, Al-Turki said.
One notable operation in the period led to the discovery of 100,000 amphetamine pills hidden in the island of Tiran off the coast of Tabuk after the interrogation of two Egyptian smugglers.
In another operation two Saudis, a Kuwaiti and a Jordanian were arrested for their involvement in smuggling 1 million amphetamine pills, he said. Al-Turki said three Umrah pilgrims were arrested for smuggling 40,000 narcotic pills.
He said officers foiled an attempt by a gang comprising five Iranians and six Pakistanis to smuggle half a ton of hashish across the Arabian Gulf. He said there were five cases of drug smugglers taking their families with them to deceive anti-narcotic officials.