5 million amphetamine capsules seized, 11 held

Updated 28 December 2015

5 million amphetamine capsules seized, 11 held

JEDDAH: In one of the largest drug hauls in Saudi Arabia, security authorities in Riyadh have seized more than five million amphetamine capsules and arrested 11 people.
“The gang, comprising nine Saudis and two Sudanese, was about to hand over the contraband to their recipients in Riyadh,” Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki, spokesman of the Interior Ministry, said.
A total of 5,173,000 amphetamine capsules, three grams of heroin, a machine gun and a pistol were seized from the smugglers, he said.
All those arrested have been referred to the competent authorities for completion of regulatory procedures, Maj. Gen. Al-Turki added.
In a related development, customs authorities at the Al-Haditha border crossing foiled attempts to smuggle 394,000 Captagon capsules hidden in two different vehicles, Ibrahim Al-Inizi, director-general of Al-Haditha Customs Center, said.
According to Al-Inizi, a private vehicle arrived at the border crossing and inspectors found 300,000 capsules hidden inside the tires of the vehicle during routine procedures.
Also, 94,000 Captagon capsules, wrapped in plastic bags, were found hidden in the dashboard of a truck, he said.
Smugglers try to bring in banned items that could harm the safety and health of individuals and the community, but the customs staff are always alert and foil such attempts, the official added.


LA Italian eatery Amadeo delights the palate in Riyadh Season pop-up

Updated 15 December 2019

LA Italian eatery Amadeo delights the palate in Riyadh Season pop-up

  • Despite minor setbacks he faced while setting up, Vietina considers the experience to be a positive one

RIYADH: Renowned Italian restaurant Amadeo has opened up in Al-Murabba for Riyadh Season. 

The pop-up has started brightly, and head chef Gianni Vietina invited Arab News to sample the menu and chat about his experience.

Vietina, in Saudi Arabia for the first time, said that he loved the location he had set up in, and was very happy to be opening up in the Kingdom. 

“The location is gorgeous. At night, with all the lights on, the music going, it’s very nice.”

Despite minor setbacks he faced while setting up, Vietina considers the experience to be a positive one and that the response was even better than he had expected. 

“Like anything new, you have quests, you have problems. Up to now, we’re doing pretty good. We are up and running. We’re comfortable now, which is a shame as we’re leaving pretty soon,” he said.

He added that he would repeat the experience in a heartbeat if he could: “They were nice enough to ask me to stay in Saudi a little longer, but I can’t. I need to go back home. But I would love to come back.”

He said that while he was not planning to open up a permanent restaurant in Saudi Arabia, he would not rule it out completely.  “I’ve been offered options, and friends have offered to show me locations while I’m here, but I can’t do it right now, I just opened a new restaurant two months ago,” he said.

“I chose the dishes that I know that most of the Saudis that visit my restaurant in Los Angeles like.”

Gianni Vietina, Head chef of Amadeo

The pop-up’s menu contains most of what the original restaurant offers, including his ever-popular penne amadeo and spaghetti bolognese, with the chefs using a combination of imported and locally sourced ingredients. 

“I chose the dishes that I know that most of the Saudis that visit my restaurant in Los Angeles like,” he told Arab News.

For the pop-up, Vietina has stuck to using halal and alcohol-free ingredients. 

“It was challenging at the beginning. But the bolognese at Amadeo doesn’t contain pork, and I realized after we tried cooking without wine that almost nothing changed. I actually prefer it,” he said.

Amadeo is a favorite of Saudis visiting Los Angeles, with Vietina going so far as to describe the restaurant as a “Little Riyadh” on most evenings between July and September. 

He even recognizes some of the customers who have come into the Riyadh pop-up, and always stops over to greet them.

Upon sampling the menu, it’s easy to see why the food at Amadeo has remained popular all these years. 

The eggplant parmigiana is a perfect blend of crusty cheese and silky smooth eggplant, with hints of basil and rosemary. 

The bolognese is rich, meaty and decadent, without being too heavy and greasy. And the penne Amadeo, which Vietina has been eating since his childhood, is a timeless classic of crushed tomato, basil, finished off with butter and Parmigiano Reggiano for a creamy, rich flavor.