Smuggling drugs into Saudi Arabia seems to rely on creativity. The illegal narcotics have been transported via drones, boats, shoes, and now buses.
On Sunday, customs officials in the kingdom busted two buses for attempting to harbor thousands of illegal drugs into the country. The officials found over 184,000 Captagon pills, otherwise known as Fenethylline tablets, on board the vehicles. The buses were stopped at the northwestern border as they were commuting pilgrims to Mecca, the holiest site in Islam, to perform Umrah.
Mohammed Qaisi, the customs general manager, said the pills were hidden “in an artistic way.”
According to Arab News, Saudi Arabia is no stranger to smuggling during the seasons of Hajj and Umrah. Saudi Customs has been putting extra effort to prevent the entry of illegal substances. That hasn’t stopped individuals from trying.
In a 2015 interview, Abdelelah Mohammed Al-Sharif, former secretary general of the National Committee for Narcotics Control and assistant director of Anti-Drug and Preventative Affairs, said that 40 percent of drug users between 12 and 22-years-old take Captagon. Al-Sharif described drug addiction as one of the most serious problems affecting societies, pointing to emotional voids, family problems, peer pressure, and negative media as major drivers behind the crisis.