Instahigh: Saudi Arabia arrests 'social media drug dealers'
Eight people have been arrested in Saudi Arabia for dealing drugs using social media, according to the Saudi Gazette.
The virtual drug dealers were using platforms like Twitter and Snapchat using fake female identities, according to the Saudi Directorate General of Narcotics Control.
The suspects were all found to be Saudi men in their thirties, said the directorate.
Drug dealing via social media is an old problem in Saudi Arabia. Earlier this month, several men and women were arrested for dealing via Twitter, according to reports in local Saudi press.
Social media is playing a significant role in helping drug dealers introduce narcotics to students, senior officials at the Saudi Directorate General of Narcotics Control have said.
Saudi authorities seized 22.4 million amphetamine pills and arrested 1,776 drug smugglers last year, the Interior Ministry announced.
The authorities seized in the process 22.4 million amphetamine pills, 28.8 tonnes of hashish and 26.2 kilograms of heroin over the same period.
|The dealers using these platforms especially target young people.|
But selling drugs via social media and online dating sites such as Tinder, which are hard to police, is also a worldwide issue, and a headache for law enforcement agencies.
The dealers using these platforms especially target young people.
A study by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction found last year that social media plays an active role in drugs markets and that smartphone apps were also being used in drugs supply.
Drug dealers are also known to use photo-sharing apps like Instagram to promote their products.
|A high-profile case recently saw a Saudi prince arrested in Lebanon for allegedly attempting to smuggle amphetamines via Beirut airport to Saudi Arabia.|
In Saudi Arabia, most of the drugs smuggled in are amphetamine tablets and hashish, according to the authorities.
Most of the hashish is smuggled through the land borders with Yemen, while amphetamine tablets come via countries like Syria and Lebanon.
Although the kingdom enforces the death penalty against drug smugglers and dealers, this has not deterred them from continuing to push their products in the Saudi market.
A high-profile case recently even saw a Saudi prince arrested in Lebanon for allegedly attempting to smuggle amphetamines via Beirut airport to Saudi Arabia.