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Jail for Saudi who used drone to smuggle narcotics into Jeddah prison

The incident took place about two and a half years ago when a small remote-controlled drone was carrying 1,997 Captigon narcotic pills and 115 grams of hashish

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The Summary Court in Jeddah has sentenced a Saudi citizen to 15 years behind bars and 1,500 whip lashes for smuggling drugs into the main prison in Jeddah on board a small drone.

The attorney general objected to the sentence considering it to be extremely light and called for capital punishment for the main defendant.

The incident took place about two and a half years ago when a small remote-controlled drone landed on the roof of barracks No. 7 and 8 in Briman prison. It was carrying 1,997 Captigon narcotic pills and 115 grams of hashish.

The Lebanese expatriate, who was accused of selling the drone to the Saudi smuggler, was sentenced to 10 years in prison, 1,000 lashes and deportation from the Kingdom after serving his term.

Seven other accomplices were sentenced to various prison terms ranging from three to 10 years while two prison guards, who were accused of facilitating the entry of the drugs, were acquitted.

The guard at the prison’s control tower informed of seeing a drone flying from the east to the west until it landed on the roofs of the barracks No. 7 and 8.

The drone, had four propellers which were 45 centimeters long and 45 cm wide. It was Chinese made and was operated by a remote control from a place near the prison.

An intelligence report to the court said the drone took off from a supermarket near the prison and was operated by two brothers of the main defendant.

The report said a prisoner was to handle the selling of the drugs to the other inmates and remit the proceeds to a certain bank account. Some other prisoners would have assisted him by retrieving the drone from the roof during visitation hours.

The security search found out that the Lebanese expatriate had sold 13 other similar aircraft before at SR4,000 to SR,5000 apiece.

The report said that more than SR200,000 in cash was found with the members of the smuggling gang.

The attorney general said the main defendant was an old drug smuggler who served 15 years in prison before for drug trafficking.

This article was first published by the Saudi Gazette on September 5, 2016.