Saudi Arabia scuppers effort to smuggle 46 tonnes qat, hashish from Yemen
Saudi authorities have said they scuppered an effort to bring over 46 tonnes of illegal drugs into the kingdom from Yemen.
There were 41 Saudi nationals among the 61 arrested in relation to the shipment headed for Saudi Arabia's southern Asir, Jazan and Najran regions, The National reported on Wednesday.
The drugs uncovered were 45.6 tonnes of qat and 760kg of hashish, according to Border Guard spokesperson Misfir Al-Qarini.
Hashish is produced from the marijuana plant, while qat is common in Yemen and is chewed to produce a euphoric feeling.
إحباط محاولات تهريب (760) كيلو جرامًا من مادة الحشيش المخدر، و(45) طنًا و(624) كيلو جرامًا من نبات القات المخدر في عدد من مناطق المملكة.#الحرب_على_المخدرات pic.twitter.com/bEthzyBgpy— وزارة الداخلية (@MOISaudiArabia) May 4, 2022
A dramatic video posted to Twitter on Wednesday by Saudi Arabia's interior ministry showed masked men holding rifles and wearing uniforms piling up mounds of what appear to be narcotics.
It was not immediately clear whether the video was illustrative or whether some of the footage is supposed to be from the recently thwarted smuggling effort.
Despite harsh drugs penalties in Saudi Arabia, the kingdom is a hotspot for smuggling activity.
Saudi customs revealed that they uncovered over 37 tonnes of unlawful narcotics in 2021.
Attempts to bring Captagon stimulant pills into the kingdom from Syria and Lebanon often make headlines.
Riyadh stopped allowing certain imported goods from Lebanon in April 2021 after over 5.3 million of the pills were found at the port of Jeddah.