Millions of Captagon pills seized by Saudi Arabian security agents last week were packed and shipped from Syria to Lebanon before making their way to the Kingdom, sources familiar with the matter told Al Arabiya on Monday.
Pomegranate stuffed with the amphetamine pills was found in a fruit shipment coming from Lebanon. Saudi Arabia quickly issued a ban on all produce from Beirut as a result of the foiled move, with Saudi authorities demanding that Lebanese officials do more to prevent drug smuggling.
But the sources familiar with the foiled shipment said it originally came from Syria before smugglers altered the “origin” description in order for the shipment not to be “thoroughly” inspected. Lebanese shipments are reportedly not subject to strict inspection at the Port of Beirut.
“The Kingdom’s security is a red line,” #SaudiArabia’s interior minister says following a foiled attempt to smuggle millions of Captagon pills from #Lebanon.https://t.co/57PcJuK7Vv pic.twitter.com/N6k6lOtQ63— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) April 23, 2021
Sources also revealed that the seized Captagon shipments belonged to a person from the Aitan family and another two brothers from the Suleiman family.
The sources told Al Arabiya that Lebanon’s Customs arrested four people involved in the smuggling while the remaining suspects fled to Syria and Turkey.
Meanwhile, Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun called for an emergency meeting to discuss the Saudi ban and drug smuggling. There was reportedly a war of words between the economy minister and agriculture minister over who was to blame for the smuggling during the meeting.
Captagon is used by fighters at war because of the effects it can have to fight tiredness. It has widely been made and exported illegally from Lebanon and, more recently, Syria and Iraq.