JEDDAH: The Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority at Jeddah Islamic Port has foiled an attempt to smuggle 8.7 million Captagon pills.
The pills were found hidden inside cocoa bean bags during an inspection. Three people were arrested by the General Directorate of Narcotics Control (GDNC).
The authority stressed that it will continue to tighten customs controls over all imports, exports and travelers in order to combat smuggling by land, sea and air, and put an end to smugglers and their organized crimes.
The Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority called on everyone to contact the Security Reports Center on 1910 to report any information related to smuggling and customs violations in strict confidentiality. It said that whistleblowers will receive a financial reward if their information is correct.
Teams from the GDNC in coordination with the Saudi port authorities have been on high alert this year, with the number of smuggling attempts rising.
Last month, Lt. Col. Misfer bin Ghannam Al-Quraini, spokesman for the Border Guard, said coastal patrols in Ras Tanura in the Eastern Province had foiled a bid to sneak 495,481 amphetamine tablets into the country, while naval patrols in Khafji in the Eastern Province had stopped 241 kilograms of hashish and 419,000 amphetamine pills getting through.
Maritime security officers in Haql in the Tabuk region had also undermined a smuggling operation involving 334,000 amphetamine tablets, he added.
In the same month, more than 2.1 million Captagon pills were found hidden in tomato paste bottles inside a parcel.
Last June, authorities also thwarted an attempt to smuggle more than 4.5 million pills hidden in a consignment of oranges received through Jeddah Islamic Port. Another smuggling effort saw more than 14 million amphetamine pills from Lebanon moved into the Kingdom hidden in a shipment of iron sheets seized at Jeddah Islamic Port. This attempt was thwarted and ended in the arrest of a Saudi citizen in Riyadh who was allegedly involved.
Earlier in April, a stash of 5.4 million Captagon pills inside boxes of pomegranates arrived in Jeddah Islamic Port, prompting the Kingdom to ban all imports of fruit and vegetables from Lebanon after repeated drug busts were found inside food shipments. Also in April, 4.3 million amphetamine pills were found hidden inside an apple shipment at the port.
To maintain the Kingdom’s efforts against smuggling, the GDNC has created a network of the relevant bodies, such as the Border Guard and Saudi Customs Authorities at all land and sea ports, and the departments of passports, security patrols, traffic and more.