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Saudi Arabia announces ban on fruits, vegetables from Lebanon due to drug smuggling

The move comes after Saudi Customs foiled an attempt to smuggle over 5 million pills of Captagon stuffed inside fruit imported from Lebanon

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Saudi Arabia will ban the import of Lebanese fruits and vegetables as of 9 a.m. on April 25 after a reported increase in drug smuggling from Beirut, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Friday.

The move comes after Saudi Customs foiled an attempt to smuggle over 5 million pills of Captagon stuffed inside fruit imported from Lebanon, the SPA reported.

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Captagon is used by fighters at war because of the effects it can have to fight tiredness. It is an amphetamine that has widely been made and exported illegally from Lebanon.

The ban will remain in effect until Lebanese authorities provide sufficient and reliable guarantees that they will take the necessary steps to halt systemic drug smuggling operations.

Lebanon’s Foreign Ministry criticized the drug smuggling operations and called on the country’s security authorities to crack down “in order to prevent harm to innocent citizens, farmers, industrialists and the Lebanese economy.”

Mohammed bin Ali Al-Naim, the undersecretary of the Customs Authority for Security Affairs, said the narcotics were stuffed inside pomegrante imported from Lebanon.

In addition, the Ministry of Interior, in cooperation with the concerned authorities, said it would continue to follow up and monitor other shipments coming from Lebanon.

“The Kingdom’s security is a red line,” Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Interior Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud tweeted later Friday.

The spokesperson of the General Directorate of Narcotics Control (GDNC), Captain Mohammed al-Nujaidi, said there were five culprits involved in the incident, one foreigner and four Saudi citizens.

The detainees are expected to first go through legal procedures prior to undergoing public prosecution.

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