Lebanon hails major amphetamine bust in Saudi Arabia

Lebanon hails major amphetamine bust in Saudi Arabia
2 min read
Lebanese-Saudi coordination managed to seize over 14 million amphetamine pills in Jeddah.
Over 14 million captagon pills were seized in Jeddah [Getty Images]

Lebanon Sunday hailed a coordinated narcotics bust with Saudi authorities that led to the seizure of 14.4 million amphetamine pills in the Red Sea port of Jeddah.

Saudi customs officials found the captagon tablets "hidden in iron sheets coming from Lebanon," the official Saudi Press Agency reported on Saturday.

Lebanon's Interior Minister Mohammed Fahmi praised "the coordination between the Lebanese internal security forces and the Saudi forces, which led... to seizing" the smuggled captagon.

In a statement on Lebanon's National News Agency, Fahmi added that the shipment came from the Syrian port of Latakia and passed through Beirut port using a forged Greek certificate.

In April, customs officials in Jeddah seized 5.3 million captagon pills hidden in a consignment of pomegranates from Lebanon.

In the same month, Saudi Arabia announced it was suspending fruit and vegetable imports from the country, saying shipments were being used for drug smuggling and accusing Beirut of inaction.

The decision was a blow to Lebanon, which is embroiled in its worst economic crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war.

Lebanon has urged Saudi Arabia to rethink the ban.

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

Saudi Arabia has taken a step back from its former ally Lebanon in recent years, angered by the influence of Shia movement Hezbollah, which is backed by Riyadh's rival Tehran.