Lebanon: Millions of amphetamine pills seized in fruit cargo

i24NEWS - Reuters

3 min read
A Saudi custom officer opens imported pomegranates in a foiled attempt to smuggle over five million pills of Captagon from Lebanon, at Jiddah Islamic Port, Saudi Arabia, April 23, 2021.
Saudi Press Agency via APA Saudi custom officer opens imported pomegranates in a foiled attempt to smuggle over five million pills of Captagon from Lebanon, at Jiddah Islamic Port, Saudi Arabia, April 23, 2021.

Captagon, an amphetamine mix, is one of the more popular recreational drugs among youth in the Middle East

Lebanese authorities on Wednesday intercepted nine million pills of the fenethylline drug Captagon inside a shipment of fruit in a smuggling attempt to the Gulf.

Captagon - known as the “poor man’s cocaine” - is a mix of amphetamines and is one of the more popular recreational drugs among youth in the Middle East.

"We want to send a message to the Arab world about our seriousness and our work to thwart evil from harming our Arab brothers," Lebanon’s Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi said.

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According to Al Jazeera, Lebanese Customs arrested several perpetrators and opened a judicial investigation into a plot to smuggle the pills at the Beirut port.

The seizure comes as Lebanon tries to resolve an ongoing diplomatic rift with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, and Kuwait.

In October, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Bahrain expelled Lebanese diplomats and recalled their won envoys following a Hezbollah-aligned minister’s critique on the Yemen war. 

The UAE also recalled its envoys, and Riyadh also banned imports from Lebanon.

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Gulf Cooperation Council leaders called on Lebanon in a meeting this month to tighten border controls and take measures to deter drug smuggling via exports into the Gulf.

Dubai police last week also said they discovered roughly $15.8m worth of Captagon pills hidden in a lemon shipment, arresting four suspects.