Saudi Arabia seizes 4.5m amphetamine pills hidden in oranges

Known locally as Captagon, the pills were hidden in a shipment of oranges entering the port in Jeddah, state TV reports.

In this file photo from April, Saudi authorities display pills they said were hidden in pomegranate shipments from Lebanon [File: Saudi Press Agency via AP Photo]

Saudi Arabia’s customs have foiled an attempt to smuggle into the kingdom more than 4.5 million pills of amphetamine, locally known as Captagon, hidden in a shipment of oranges entering via the port in Jeddah, state TV has reported.

Authorities said a shipment arriving via the port of Jeddah consisting of cartons of oranges was confiscated after it was subjected to customs procedures and examined through X-ray machines, according to broadcaster Al Arabiya. The images showed a large quantity of Captagon pills hidden under the boxes of fruit.

Initial reports did not mention the origin of the narcotics.

The authorities added that several people suspected of waiting for the arrival of the boxes were taken into custody.

Customs authorities said their personnel “stand in the way of the smugglers’ attempts and their organised campaigns”, Al Arabiya reported.

Saudi Arabia banned imports of Lebanese produce in April citing increased attempts to smuggle drugs from the country.

Saudi authorities announced on Saturday the seizure of 14.4 million amphetamine pills from Lebanon, hidden in a shipment of iron plates. In April, they said they discovered 5.3 million such pills hidden in pomegranate shipments from Lebanon.

At the time, authorities said they arrested four suspects, including two nationals, and two residents – one of whom was Syrian.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies