Lebanese authorities have charged a Saudi prince and nine other people with drug trafficking, a week after they were arrested in the largest-ever drug seizure at Beirut’s airport.
Saudi Prince Abdel Mohsen Bin Walid Bin Abdulaziz and four other Saudis were arrested at the airport on October 27, after nearly two tonnes of Captagon capsules and cocaine were found waiting to be loaded onto their private jet.
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“[A public prosecutor] has charged 10 people, including five arrested individuals – a Saudi prince and Saudi nationals with smuggling and selling the drug Captagon,” a judicial source said on Monday.
Five individuals still at large were included in the charges, including three Lebanese and two Saudi nationals, the source added.
In April 2014, Lebanese security forces foiled an attempt to smuggle 15 million capsules of Captagon hidden in shipping containers full of corn from Beirut’s port.
Captagon is the brand name for the amphetamine phenethylline, a synthetic stimulant.
The banned drug has reportedly been widely used by combatants in Syria to help them keep fighting, often on night missions or during gruelling battles.
The drug was first produced in the 1960s to treat hyperactivity, narcolepsy, and depression, but was banned in most countries in the 1980s as it was too addictive.
In 2013, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime said 64 percent of global seizures of amphetamine took place in the Middle East, and that most of the amphetamine was in the form of Captagon pills.