Suspect Arrested After Huge Drug Haul In Riyadh

RIYADH, 17 May 2005 — Saudi police have detained a suspected drug trafficker after recovering 440,000 tablets of the banned stimulant fenethylline (commonly known under the trade name Captagon) with an estimated street value of SR23 million.

This seizure follows a major search exercise conducted by the Saudi security officials to apprehend drug traffickers and criminals, who have been operating drug, crime and porno dens in the capital city.

“The local police found the haul hidden in the desert outside Riyadh early this week,” said a statement released by the Anti-Drugs Commission. Fenethylline has remained a popular recreational drug among affluent young people in the Middle East despite its proscription worldwide in 1986.

This is not for the first time that such a huge quantity of Captagon has been confiscated in the Kingdom. Local police, border guards and security officials have reported several such seizures in the past.

Last month, many expatriates including a Pakistani in possession of some six kilograms of heroin and an Indian with 3.5 kg of hashish were arrested by Riyadh police. Saudi Border Guards seized 2,690 kg hashish, 71,000 pills and 23,000 bottles of liquor, in one year.

According to an Interpol report, Captagon is smuggled along a variety of routes from the primary production areas through Syria and Jordan to the Arabian Peninsula. More than 1.4 million tablets were seized in Syria last year while en route to Saudi Arabia.

The Kingdom has stepped up efforts to check drug smuggling and addiction but its border areas are vulnerable to the smuggling of narcotics and organized crime.

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