Saudi officials arrest 158 in anti-drug crackdown

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    Saudi officials arrest 158 in anti-drug crackdown

    EDDAH: Saudi security forces have arrested 158 people including 108 Saudis and 50 foreigners for alleged involvement in drug smuggling and trafficking, an Interior Ministry spokesman said Tuesday.

    He said the arrests took place in three major operations, which prevented 10.54 million Captagon tablets, 2,380 kilograms of hashish and 5.9 kilograms of heroin from being smuggled into the Kingdom.

    The spokesman did not say when and where the arrests of the suspects and the seizure of the drugs took place. However, he stressed that the Saudi drug enforcement agency would continue its campaign to protect citizens and residents from drugs.

    “Those involved in smuggling drugs into the Kingdom will be punished severely,” the spokesman said. Saudi Arabia imposes the death penalty on drug traffickers and smugglers.

    In the first operation, 84 people including 65 Saudis and 19 foreign nationals were arrested, he said, adding that it foiled the smuggling of 6.6 million Captagon tablets. “About 524,150 tablets were hidden in coal carried on a truck,” he explained. “During the same operation we were able to prevent the smuggling of 2.35 million Captagon tablets,” he added.

    Security forces also prevented trafficking of 1.56 million Captagon tablets in various parts of the Kingdom.

    Speaking about the second operation, the spokesman said it resulted in the arrest of 58 people — 43 Saudis and 15 foreigners — who tried to bring in 2,378 kilograms of hashish into the Kingdom.

    In the third wave of arrests, as many as 16 foreigners were detained in different parts of the country for trafficking a total of 5.9 kilograms of heroin, the spokesman said.

    Saudi security forces have been instrumental in preventing many drug smuggling attempts in the past. In March this year they arrested 35 suspected drug traffickers including 13 Saudi suspects accused of trying to smuggle 1,768 kilograms of hashish and 3.4 million amphetamine tablets into the Kingdom.

    The men were part of four drug networks operating in different parts of the country.

    One of the groups had documents showing financial transactions worth SR406 million ($108 million), the Interior Ministry said. The group is also accused of attempting to steal and export cars, and police said they seized 23 vehicles.

    “The arrest of these criminals took place as a result of the vigilance of security agencies and their monitoring of activities aimed at selling drugs and money laundering,” said Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki, spokesman for the ministry.

    P.K. Abdul Ghafour | Arab News
    December 09 2009

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