Lebanese customs seized nine million Captagon pills hidden in a shipment of lemons in the Beirut port that was on its way to the Gulf states.
وقال Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi for journalists Wednesday After inspecting the shipment at the port of Beirut, it was seized, according to “preliminary estimates, about nine million Captagon pills”, indicating that the shipment was supposed to be exported to one of the Gulf countries.
A customs officer stated that the shipment was on its way to Kuwait, but it is not clear whether it will go to other countries later.
Plastic bags filled with Captagon pills were hidden in plastic lemons, which were placed among the natural fruit pills.
An investigation is still underway to determine the source of the shipment and where it was packaged.
The Lebanese authorities have recently confirmed that they are intensifying their efforts to thwart the Captagon smuggling operations, especially after criticism from Gulf countries, led by Saudi Arabia, which cut diplomatic relations with Beirut last October against the background of statements by a former minister.
In April, Saudi Arabia announced that it would suspend the import of fruits and vegetables from Lebanon or allow their passage through its territory, after seizing more than 5.3 million Captagon pills hidden in a shipment of pomegranates. Kuwait in October criticized the Lebanese government for “not taking the necessary measures to deter the continuous and increasing smuggling of the drug scourge.”
On December 23, Dubai Police announced the arrest of four residents of Arab nationality who tried to smuggle more than one million Captagon tablets in a shipment of lemons “coming from an Arab country.” Pictures published by the police showed the phrase “Made in Lebanon” on the seized boxes.
Captagon pills are easy to manufacture and are sold at a cheap price in the market, and some see them as a cheap alternative to cocaine.
The Captagon industry is not new in the region, and Syria is the most prominent source of this substance since before the outbreak of the war in 2011, but the conflict made its manufacture more popular, used and exported. Captagon pill factories are also active in several regions in Lebanon.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime classifies Captagon as a “type of amphetamine stimulant,” usually a mixture of amphetamines, caffeine and other substances.
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