Saudi authorities have arrested eight individuals in connection with the country’s biggest drug bust yet, resulting in the seizure of a record-breaking 46 million amphetamine pills that were smuggled in a shipment of flour. Two of the eight detained were Pakistanis.
According to the Saudi state-run SPA news agency, authorities had been tracking the shipment as it arrived at the Riyadh Dry Port, and was shifted to a warehouse. The authorities then raided the warehouse, where they arrested six Syrians and two Pakistanis.
Although the General Directorate of Narcotics Control (GDNC) refrained from naming the brand of amphetamine that was smuggled, Saudi Arabia is the largest market for captagon brand amphetamines.
Captagon is a mix of amphetamine, caffeine and various fillers, and remains the most popular drug choice for youth in the Gulf region. A GDNC spokesperson told the BBC that the 46,916,480 amphetamine tablets seized in Riyadh were part of the “biggest operation of its kind to smuggle this amount of narcotics into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in one operation”.
The drugs have been estimated to have a street value of between $470 million and more than $1 billion. Saudi authorities are conducting a follow up investigation, and say that the eight people involved will face strict penalties.