1,628 drug smugglers held in 6 months

1,628 drug smugglers held in 6 months

A portion of the confiscated drugs. — Okaz photo
A portion of the confiscated drugs. — Okaz photo

By Mansour Al-Shihri
Okaz/Saudi Gazette

RIYADH — Some 1,628 drug smugglers, consisting of 589 Saudis and 1,039 foreigners from 41 countries, were detained during the past six months, the Interior Ministry has announced.

The ministry’s spokesman, Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki, told a press conference in Riyadh on Tuesday that the detainees were involved in smuggling, receiving, transporting and trafficking narcotics. He said five of the smugglers were killed and 14 others injured in confrontations with security forces while 16 policemen were injured.

Al-Turki revealed that 21,429,859 amphetamine (Captagon) pills, 19,612 ton of hashish, 12,932 kg of raw heroin and 218,948 kg of cocaine were confiscated.

He said 5,468 pieces of various weapons, 14,100 bullets and SR43.8 million in cash were seized from the smugglers.

Turki said the Saudis constituted about 70 percent of the smugglers while the majority of the others came from Yemen, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Egypt, India, Bangladesh, the Philippines and Syria.

“These hauls are apart from the quantities of drugs confiscated by the department of customs or the preemptive operations carried in cooperation with seven countries,” he added.

He explained that the seven countries with which the Kingdom cooperated to foil a number of drug smuggling operations were Pakistan, Kuwait, Turkey, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon and Sudan.

The spokesman denied social media reports that the punishment against the users of Qat was cancelled and asked people never to heed such rumors.

Meanwhile, Brig. Mohammed Al-Qahtani, director of the department of statistics of the Border Guard, said last year as many as 5,700 drug smugglers from Yemen and some African countries were apprehended while this year 1,200 of them were caught along the Kingdom’s southern borders with Yemen.

He also said during the past six months of the current year as many as 14,000 infiltrators were nabbed compared to 25,000 last year.

On the other hand, Col. Sami Al-Hamoud, director of the department of preventive affairs of the General Directorate for Narcotics Control said about 110 attempts to sell narcotics on the social media were uncovered.

He said most of the operations were done through the Snapchat and added that the drug addiction usually begins at the age of 13 until 20.