Drugs worth SR1.65bn seized; 503 imprisoned

JEDDAH: Saudi security forces have foiled attempts to smuggle drugs worth more than SR1.65 billion into the Kingdom during the last three months and arrested 503 drug smugglers, the Interior Ministry said on Sunday.Addressing a press conference, ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki said those arrested were 252 Saudis and 251 foreigners from 24 countries.During the drug busts, which took place during March, April and May this year, three security officers were injured while five smugglers killed.During the first operation, drug enforcement agencies foiled an attempt to smuggle 7.92 million amphetamine pills, 3,605 kg of hashish, 64,482 kg of qat and 12.89 kg of heroin into the Kingdom. In the second operation, police confiscated 3.6 million amphetamine pills, 1,367 kg of hashish, 24,458 kg of qat and 4.88 kg of heroin in addition to SR3.23 million in cash.Al-Turki said police seized 2.7 million amphetamine pills, 1,243 kg of hashish, 4.44 kg of heroin and 22,732 kg of qat in another major anti-drug operation. He commended the coordination between the Customs Department and security agencies in carrying out the operations against drug-smuggling and trafficking.The spokesman said during the first three months of this year, police arrested 241 Saudis and 237 foreigners of 23 nationalities for their involvement in drug smuggling and trafficking operations.Al-Turki said the smugglers had used children and women to carry out their malicious operations. “There were at least five cases in which women and children were involved,” he said. However, he pointed out that women have never been the main operators. He said most drug smuggling operations took place through the land borders. “There were only fewer cases of smuggling through the Kingdom’s marine borders,” he added.

Al-Turki said security officers considered these successful anti-drug operations their national duty. “We have stated several times before that Saudi Arabia has been targeted by drug barons. Even some tablets given to patients by some doctors are aimed at making them drug addicts. Drug traffickers bribe doctors and pharmacists to market such narcotic pills,” he said.He said it is the duty of the Health Ministry to monitor hospitals and pharmacies and prevent them from promoting narcotic drugs. “We have good coordination with all government departments.” The general called for the cooperation of all members of society to prevent drug smuggling and trafficking in the Kingdom.

“Some people think certain drugs would not create any addiction. This is wrong. All drug barons and producers are involved in this illicit business to make money. They want to make people addicts gradually by promoting soft pills.”Al-Turki urged students not to take narcotic pills during examination times in order to keep them awake. “It will make them drug addicts,” he said and urged parents to keep a watch on their children.Maj. Ahmed Al-Harithy, director of labs at the Anti-Drugs Department, pointed out that all the confiscated pills were contaminated as they were manufactured improperly. – Arabnews