Lebanon hails major drug bust in Saudi Arabia
Published: Jun 28, 2021 06:51 PM
A general view of Saudi Arabia Photo: VCG

A general view of Saudi Arabia Photo: VCG

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

Also in April, 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 1975-90 civil war.

Lebanon has urged Saudi Arabia to rethink the ban on the drug.

Captagon is an amphetamine drug 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.

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