Lebanese authorities have detained five Saudi citizens at Beirut international airport after finding two tonnes of drugs on board a private jet bound for the Gulf kingdom, security sources and the National News Agency have said.
A general view of Beirut international airport January 25, 2010. An Ethiopian Airlines plane with 90 people on board crashed into the Mediterranean sea shortly after taking off from Beirut international airport in the early hours of Monday, the Lebanese transport minister… Reuters
The plane, scheduled to fly to Hael in northern Saudi Arabia, was carrying 40 bags of Captagon amphetamine pills, reports Reuters.
Security services were questioning the suspects, the sources said on Monday, without elaborating.
Lebanon’s National News Agency described it as the biggest smuggling operation ever discovered at the Beirut airport.
Captagon pills, which typically contain amphetamine and caffeine, are consumed widely in the Middle East.
Though the detained Saudi citizens were not identified, BBC, citing international media reports, said they included a Saudi prince.
It said Lebanese security forces in April last year had foiled another attempt to smuggle 15 million Captagon pills hidden in shipping containers full of corn from Beirut’s seaport.
Captagon was first produced in the 1960s to treat hyperactivity, narcolepsy and depression. However, many countries banned it in the 1980s after finding it to be too addictive.
In 2013, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said 64 percent of global seizures of amphetamine took place in the Middle East, and that most of the amphetamine was in the form of Captagon pills.