Dubai police have successfully seized a staggering 86 million tablets of amphetamine, known as Captagon, concealed within a shipment of doors and building panels, according to an announcement by UAE authorities on Thursday.
The estimated value of these confiscated pills surpasses a billion dollars, underlining the gravity of the situation. This seizure comes at a time when Captagon sales have emerged as a critical issue across the Middle East, fueled by support from the Syrian regime.
CCTV footage, made public by the UAE Ministry of Interior, reveals suspects attempting to smuggle Captagon pills through Dubai’s Jebel Ali port. The illicit tablets were ingeniously concealed within five shipping containers loaded with doors and building panels. Astonishingly, these smuggled Captagon tablets weighed in excess of 13 tons.
Sheikh Saif bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the UAE interior minister, issued a stern statement, declaring, “The UAE will remain vigilant against anyone attempting to undermine the security and stability of our society.”
Although the authorities did not disclose the identities of the suspects, they characterized them as part of an “international criminal gang” and refrained from revealing the source of the Captagon shipment.
Colonel Eid Mohammed Thani Hareb, the director of the Dubai Police’s General Department of Narcotics, explained that these Captagon tablets were likely destined for a third country, without specifying its name.
The estimated cost of a single Captagon tablet stands at approximately $12 while neighbouring Saudi Arabia reports a higher price of $25 per tablet.
Syria has gained notoriety as the world’s largest source of smuggled Captagon, an addictive amphetamine, especially since the onset of the war. Over the years, hundreds of millions of Captagon tablets have been illicitly transported into Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and other Gulf states from territories under the control of the Syrian regime.
The United States, Britain, and the European Union have levelled accusations against Bashar al-Assad, his family, and their allies, including the Lebanese Hezbollah movement, for their alleged involvement in facilitating and profiting from the Captagon trade. These allegations suggest that this trade has provided a significant financial lifeline to Assad, particularly during a period of economic turmoil in Syria. However, both the Syrian regime and Hezbollah have vehemently denied these accusations.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.