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Lebanese security forces foil drug smuggling operation to Saudi Arabia

Published: Updated:

Millions of Captagon pills were found inside a container scheduled to depart the Port of Beirut for Saudi Arabia, Lebanon’s interior minister said Friday.

The drugs were found in what appeared to be rocks or stones inside the container.

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The foiled shipment was meant to be shipped to Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah, Mohammad Fahmi said in televised remarks after the operation was foiled.

“I ask all countries to have trust in Lebanon the way they used to,” he said, in an apparent reference to a recent decision by Saudi Arabia to ban certain imports from Lebanon.

In April, Saudi Arabia issued a ban on fresh produce shipments from Lebanon after what it said was an uptick in drug smuggling from Beirut and a lack of proper security from Lebanese security forces.

Soon after, Gulf countries supported the Saudi move and threatened to follow suit.

Saudi Arabia is consistently one of Lebanon’s top destinations for agricultural exports in 2019.

Lebanese businessmen and women urged officials in Beirut to do more to rectify the lack of proper supervision and scanning at Lebanese ports.

Riyadh’s envoy to Beirut Waleed Bukhari tweeted pictures of the foiled operation intended to be shipped to Saudi Arabia with the hashtag in Arabic that translates to “War on Drugs.”

Ties between Lebanon and Saudi Arabia soured following the outbreak of the Syrian war and Iran-backed Hezbollah’s public participation in the neighboring crisis. Lebanon then refused to condemn attacks on Saudi Arabia during Arab League meetings.

Read more: Lebanon urges Saudi Arabia to lift ban on fruit, vegetable imports