Saudi smuggler of Captagon drugs arrested in Beirut

(File photo: Jordan News
BEIRUT — Lebanese authorities on Sunday arrested a Saudi man at Beirut airport who attempted to smuggle 18.3kg of the illegal stimulant captagon out of the country, the interior ministry said.اضافة اعلان

Lebanon’s interior ministry said in a statement that the drugs were destined for Kuwait.

The ministry added that the man is a Saudi citizen and a Kuwait resident who holds documents saying he works in “security” there.

Under its normal practice, it did not name the suspect.

Trade in captagon in the Middle East grew exponentially in 2021 to top $5 billion, posing an increasing health and security risk to the region, a report by the New Lines Institute said in April.

Syria is the main producer of the amphetamine-type drug, and Saudi Arabia the main consumer.

A security official at the airport told AFP the man had placed an estimated 110,000 captagon pills inside bags that were “stitched in clothing.”

Security forces have intensified efforts to thwart smuggling operations after Riyadh suspended fruit and vegetable imports from Lebanon in April last year. It said shipments were used for drug smuggling and accused Beirut of inaction.

Lebanese authorities have arrested several captagon smugglers over the years, most notably a Saudi prince in 2015 who, along with four Saudi accomplices, tried to smuggle about 2 tonnes of pills on a private plane headed to the kingdom from Beirut.

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