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Saudi Arabia Becoming ‘Drug Capital’ of West Asia: CNN

Sunday 4 September 2022
Saudi Arabia Becoming ‘Drug Capital’ of West Asia: CNN

Alwaght- Saudi Arabia is becoming "drug capital" of the West Asia and main destination of illegal drugs and narcotics there, CNN reported.

The American news network's report came after Saudi authorities announced the largest seizure of illicit drugs in the country's history by discovering nearly 47 million amphetamine pills in a flour shipment and at a warehouse in Riyadh.

“The record seizure demonstrates what experts say is Saudi Arabia's growing role as the drug capital of the Middle East, driving demand and becoming the primary destination for smugglers,” the report said.

“The kingdom is one of the largest and most lucrative regional destinations for drugs, and that status is only intensifying.”

The Saudi authorities stopped short of mentioning the name and type of seized drugs and their origin, but the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime had previously said that "reports of amphetamine seizures from countries in the Middle East continue to refer predominantly to tablets bearing the Captagon logo."

Stressing that many young people in Saudi Arabia have been taking drugs as a result of boredom and lack of social opportunities, the report said hashish and khat are the most common drugs in the kingdom, with amphetamines becoming popular among Saudi youth.

These substances have been widespread in Saudi Arabia in the past 15 years, but since five years ago, perhaps together with cannabis, they have become more popular, the report cited Wanda Felbab-Brown, a member of the Brookings Institute in Washington, DC, as saying.

The report also said seizures of Captagon drug shipments in Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region were increasingly expanding, adding that the United States Coast Guard recently discovered a shipment of 320 kilograms of methamphetamine pills and nearly three tons of hashish worth millions of dollars from a fishing boat in the Gulf of Oman.

In May, Lebanese security officials arrested a Saudi security official at Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport over attempting to smuggle thousands of illegal amphetamine Captagon pills to a Persian Gulf kingdom.

The Saudi security official, identified as Adel Jafran al-Shammari, had placed an estimated 110,000 Captagon pills inside bags that were “stitched in clothing”.

Captagon is an amphetamine manufactured in Lebanon, mainly for consumption in Saudi Arabia, according to the French Observatory for Drugs and Drug Addiction (OFDT).

In one of the country’s largest busts, Lebanese authorities arrested a Saudi prince along with four Saudi accomplices in October 2015 for attempting to smuggle out nearly two tons of Captagon pills on a private plane headed to the kingdom from Beirut airport.

 

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Saudi Arabia Drug Capital Narcotics

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