Saudi authorities have announced the interception of a substantial quantity of narcotic pills and the apprehension of individuals with Syrian ties, less than a week after the UAE seized a similar shipment.
In a statement posted on the X platform, the General Directorate of Drug Control in Saudi Arabia disclosed that they successfully thwarted an attempt to smuggle 7,920,000 tablets of amphetamine through the Batha port in the Eastern Province, collaborating closely with the counterpart agency in the United Arab Emirates.
The authorities further revealed that they apprehended the recipients of this illegal shipment in the Riyadh region, comprising expatriates of Syrian nationality and four Saudi citizens.
A video broadcast by the Saudi al-Ekhbariya channel depicted Captagon pills concealed within a cargo of plastic panels. Upon unloading, the pills created a mound due to their substantial quantity.
Just days earlier, the UAE Interior Ministry had announced the foiling of an attempt to smuggle 13 tons of Captagon, equivalent to 86 million tablets. These were concealed amidst doors and decorative building panels, with an estimated value exceeding $1 billion. Dubai police had detained six individuals in connection with the shipment, although their nationalities and sources were not disclosed.
Towards the end of the previous August, Saudi authorities had also announced the thwarting of two separate attempts to smuggle millions of narcotic tablets within the capital, Riyadh. Several individuals involved, including four Syrians, were apprehended.
These significant drug shipments underscore the Assad regime’s deliberate effort to inundate Gulf states with narcotic pills, even as some of these states seek to normalize relations with it.
Assad’s militia relies on the production and trafficking of contraband to supplement its finances, having already leveraged the country’s resources with Russia and Iran.
Bashar al-Assad’s relatives maintained a firm grip on the ports of Tartous and Latakia, exploiting them for the shipment and smuggling of narcotic pills and contraband.
In the preceding July, over 80 countries and 12 regional and international organizations established an international coalition, led by the United States of America, to combat the production and smuggling of manufactured drugs across various nations, including Syria. Syria has been transformed by Assad’s militias and Iran into an extensive hub for Captagon production.
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.