Just two months removed from their largest drug bust in Lebanon history, Beirut airport authorities have seized approximately five tons of Captagon amphetamine pills that were destined for Euorpe, according to reports.
During a security forces raid in the country’s north, police found two Captagon-producing facilities, which also manufactured other drugs, a source told ABC News.
“We will not allow Lebanon to be a transit point for drugs,” Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil told Lebanon’s National News Agency. It remains unclear if the individuals found in possession of the drugs had been charged or arrested.
In late October, a Saudi Prince and four others were arrested for allegedly trying to traffic a large supply of Captagon capsules and cocaine through Beirut. A private jet was holding the illegal items inside 40 suitcases. The plane was set to take off to Saudi Arabia before authorities intervened, according to reports.
This region-wide drug epidemic has hit both Saudi Arabia and Iran.
On Monday, officials in Riyadh seized more than five million Captagon pills, in a haul that was described as “one of the largest drug” busts in Saudi history. Officials also found three grams of heroin, a machine gun, and a pistol, according to Saudi spokesman Maj Gen Mansour Al-Turki. He told Arab News, “The gang, comprising nine Saudis and two Sudanese, was about to hand over the contraband to their recipients in Riyadh.” That same day, separate police raids at two border crossing areas resulted in the seizure of an additional 394,000 Captagon capsules.
Meanwhile, Iranian officials have released data that shows a noted increase in drug trafficking year after year. In the past eight months, Iranian police units have seized approximately 422 tons of illegal drugs, according to state-run Fars News Agency. This drug grab included 136,000 pounds of hashish, 24,000 pounds of heroin, 11,000 pounds of morphine, and 3,000 pounds of methamphetamine, according to government estimates.
Drugs are outlawed in most Islamic Middle Eastern nations, but this apparently has not stopped the demand for illegal narcotics. Capital punishment can be applied to drug offenders in both Saudi Arabia and Iran. Lebanon, however, no longer “officially” carries out capital punishment.