Saudi Arabia

About Five Million Captagon Pills Seized by Saudi Security Forces

Saudi Arabia’s security forces seized about five million Captagon pills in Riyadh, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Thursday.

The spokesman for the General Directorate for Narcotics Control, Major Muhammad Al Nujaidi, said the 4,962,000 amphetamine tablets were hidden in a shipment of cables.

A Syrian national has been arrested and preliminary legal measures were taken against him.

The value of the illegal stimulant was not disclosed, but according to global estimates the haul has a street value of nearly $70 million.

Last month, an attempt to smuggle more than three million amphetamine tablets into the kingdom was thwarted.

Captagon is widely viewed as the most in-demand narcotic in the Middle East.

Most of global Captagon production originates in Syria, where it has become a $10 billion industry, making the drug the country’s largest export by far.

The synthetic amphetamine has long been associated with the Syrian civil war. Many fighters on all sides are believed to use the drug.

Trade in the pills across the region grew exponentially in 2021 to exceed $5 billion, posing an increasing health and security risk to the region, a 2022 report said.

Last December, US President Joe Biden signed the National Defence Authorisation Act that included a mandate requiring the US agencies to target the Captagon drug trade in the Middle East.

The highly addictive drug, which ISIS sold to fund their so-called caliphate and dished out to fighters rampaging across Iraq and Syria, has become an important source of funding for Syrian President Bashar Al Assad’s regime.


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