RIYADH: Saudi authorities seized a large haul of narcotics in five locations across the Kingdom on Tuesday.
The busts took place in the Asir region, Jazan, Duba port, Al Haditha and Riyadh.
Three attempts to smuggle 651,909 captagon pills were stopped by the Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority.
The drugs were smuggled in during three different attempts in Duba port and Al Haditha.
Authorities found the pills hidden in a consignment in the first two attempts and hidden in the floor cavities of a truck in the third attempt. The seven involved were arrested.
The Saudi General Directorate for Narcotics Control arrested three residents of Palestinian and Sudanese nationalities in Riyadh for selling 133,008 tablets of amphetamine and hashish.
The estimated street value of the pills seized in the various smuggling attempts ranged between $7.8 million and $19.5 million, according to research published in the International Addiction Review Journal, based on assumptions that users pay in the range of $10-$25 a pill.
Border guards in the Asir region stopped an attempt to smuggle 100 kg of qat – a leaf that is chewed for its effects.
In another operation at Aldair governorate of Jazan, a security patrol thwarted an attempt to smuggle qat by three Ethiopian nationals. The quantity of the substance was not disclosed.
Saudi Arabia has lately intensified its crackdown on drug smuggling operations.
In May, Saudi Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif vowed that the Kingdom will “remain resolute and not leave room for smugglers or dealers to target our youth or tamper with security in any way.”
The Saudi government has urged anyone with information related to suspected smuggling operations or customs violations to call the confidential hotline 1910, the international number 00 966 114208417, or email [email protected].
Tips received by the authority related to smuggling crimes and breaches of common customs law are treated with strict confidentiality. Financial rewards are offered for valid tips.