A HANDOUT picture released by the Saudi interior ministry shows a security officer piling bags of amphetamine pills at a warehouse in an undisclosed location.—AFP
A HANDOUT picture released by the Saudi interior ministry shows a security officer piling bags of amphetamine pills at a warehouse in an undisclosed location.—AFP

Riyadh: Two Pakistani citizens were among eight people arrested by Saudi authorities in a raid on a warehouse resulting in the record seizure of 46 million amphetamine pills that were reportedly smuggled in a shipment of flour.

The Saudi state-run SPA news agency reported that the security forces tracked the shipment as it arrived at the Riyadh Dry Port and was moved to a warehouse. Subsequently, the authorities raided the warehouse and detained six Syrian citizens along with two Pakistani nationals.

The General Directorate of Narcotics Control (GDNC) did not name the amphetamine, but Saudi Arabia is the largest market for tablets bearing the captagon logo.

Captagon — typically a mix of amphetamine, caffeine and various fillers — is reportedly one of the most popular drugs among affluent youths in the Gulf, according to the report.

A spokesperson for the GDNC quoted by BBC News stated that the shipment of 46,916,480 amphetamine tablets seized in Riyadh was the “biggest operation of its kind to smuggle this amount of narcotics into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in one operation”.

According to the report, he stressed that security personnel were determined to combat and foil the activities of criminal networks targeting the country and its citizens, and that all people involved faced deterrent penalties.

Published in Dawn, September 1st, 2022

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