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  1. Terrapinzflyer
    RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Saudi Arabia said Wednesday it had seized nearly 10 million captagon stimulant pills over a three-month period, underscoring the continuing high demand for the drug in the Gulf state.

    In the three months to mid-September, the interior ministry said its forces seized 9.92 million of the pills, as well as 6.4 tonnes of hashish and 10.1 kilogrammes of heroin.

    The ministry valued the drugs at 330 million riyals (88 million dollars), and more than 200 arrests were made in the seizures, according to the announcement on the official SPA news agency.

    Captagon is classified by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime as an "amphetamine type stimulant" and usually blends amphetamine, caffeine and other substances.

    It is particularly popular in Gulf and other Middle Eastern countries. Regional captagon busts have risen steadily, making the Middle East and Southwest Asia the leading region for amphetamine seizures, according to the UNODC.

    The UNODC said Bulgaria and, to a lesser degree, Turkey are believed to be the main sources of captagon, with much of it trafficked through Syria.

    September 29, 2010


  1. Terrapinzflyer
    JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia announced Wednesday that its anti-narcotics agencies have arrested 210 people for smuggling, selling and possessing various types of drugs valued at more than SR330 million in the last three months.

    Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki, spokesman of the Interior Ministry, said the arrested included 113 Saudis, 31 Pakistanis, 21 Yemenis, 18 Syrians, 11 Filipinos, five Egyptians, three Indians, three Ethiopians, two Eritreans, a Sudanese, a Kuwaiti and a Jordanian.

    He said three drug enforcement officers were killed and three others injured during 18 gunbattles with drug smugglers. Two smugglers were also killed while four others were injured. One smuggler who had swallowed hashish bags died.

    Al-Turki said officers foiled 17 attempts to smuggle 8.98 million Captagon capsules, 1,320 kg of hashish and 5.59 kg of heroin. “In another operation, they seized 4,399 kg of hashish and 439,671 Captagon capsules,” he pointed out.

    He said police had arrested 125 drug traffickers in various parts of the Kingdom during the same period and seized 500,482 Captagon tablets, 644 kg of hashish, 4.55 kg of heroin and other narcotics.

    Police also seized 76 pieces of weapons from smugglers, including 66 pistols, two machine guns and two rifles in addition to SR2 million in cash.

    The smugglers tried to bring drugs into the Kingdom by hiding them inside cars, car engines, spare tires, pipes and fruit, and also inside their stomachs.

    Drug abuse is a major problem facing Saudi Arabia. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Saudi Arabia led the charts in the seizure of amphetamine-type stimulants in 1998-2007, accounting for 27 percent of all seizures.

    Last April, Riyadh hosted an international conference to combat drug trafficking, which was attended by more than 480 experts from 26 countries.

    Saudi officials say the drug trade is often linked with security problems and the government has become increasingly focused in its fight against drug trafficking culminating in many drug busts. Al-Turki said it was likely there was a link between the drug smugglers and Al-Qaeda, as the international terror organization uses drug trafficking to finance its operations.

    Annemarie Profanter, an Italian professor at the Free University of Bozen who has researched drug trafficking in the Gulf with a focus on Saudi Arabia, said drug use among Saudi youth is on the rise. "In my studies, I have shown that the Saudi youth makes increasing use of nontraditional, maladaptive tools for societal integration including misuse of mind or mood altering substance such as street drugs (cocaine, heroin, cannabis etc.), alcohol, and prescription drugs (ridlin, oxyconton, seconal, etc.), which are haram," she told The Media Line.

    Published: Sep 29, 2010

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