In country-wide crackdowns on drug smuggling and trafficking, Saudi security forces have seized narcotics worth SR 1.7 billion ($453 million) and arrested 681 people, including women.
While 96 of those detained were Saudis, 585 belonged to 33 nationalities, Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour al-Turki told a press conference in Riyadh on Sunday.
He said 20 officers were injured in the four-month anti-smuggling operations. Seized narcotics included 10.61 tons of hashish, 6.3 kilogram of heroin, 1.69 kilogram of cocaine, 13.26 million narcotic pills. Besides, SR 16.73 million in cash was recovered from the smugglers.
One notable operation in the period led to the discovery of 100,000 amphetamine pills hidden in the island of Tiran off the coast of Tabuk after the interrogation of two Egyptian smugglers. In another operation two Saudis, a Kuwaiti and a Jordanian were arrested for their involvement in smuggling one million amphetamine pills, Turki said and added that three 'Umrah' pilgrims were arrested for smuggling 40,000 narcotic pills.
He said officers also foiled an attempt by a gang of five Iranians and six Pakistanis to smuggle half a ton of hashish across the Arabian Gulf. There were five cases of drug smugglers taking their families with them to deceive officials. All the culprits would be tried and punished by the courts, he added.
Turki said smugglers attempted to enter the conservative Kingdom through unofficial entry points across the porous southern border and the coasts. In the north, smugglers attempted to bring in contrabands through official entry points by hiding it in candies or similar cargo. A glider plane was also used for smuggling drugs across the northern border, he said.
The official warned that smugglers would face punishments as per Saudi laws including death penalty. "We will not spare any nationality, including Iranians and Syrians," he added.
by RTT Staff Writer
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