On Friday, Lebanon's Internal Security Forces (ISF) confiscated 15 tons of hashish (hash) that was reportedly waiting to be shipped abroad.

The drugs were packed and hidden inside paint buckets in a warehouse in Beirut's southern coastal district of Ouzai

"This is the biggest bust in the history of Lebanon with regards to drugs produced and prepared to be sold," said an unnamed ISF source, according to The Telegraph.

Major General Imad Othman, the head of the ISF, said seven people had been arrested in the process, including a customs employee. 

"The drugs were set to leave Lebanon and go to Libya and then to Egypt, but we don't know what the final destination was yet," Gen. Othman said in a televised conference, the Daily Star reported

"The amount of hashish produced by a warehouse in Ouzai and confiscated by the internal security forces two days ago covers the entire arena of a football field. (The white is hash, the brown is hash too, but the green isn't.)"

Lebanese security forces say the hashish was packaged and ready for export abroad Source: Lebanese Security Forces

During the same conference, Gen. Othman also mentioned another drug bust carried out against an international drug smuggling ring. 

A significant amount of cocaine was found in liquid form within alcohol bottles and duty-free bags. Othman noted that one of the arrested suspects was a Lebanese religious figure.

Lebanon is one of the world's top producers of hashish

The final decision on the fate of the hashish will be made after the ISF concludes its official investigation, though Lebanon's security forces have burnt crops in the past.

Though the drugs were seized in southern Beirut, a huge percentage of hash production in the country usually takes place in the Bekaa region.

In a 2006 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime report on Narcotics, Lebanon was named one of the world's top producers of hashish.

Not the first major drug haul in the Arab world

Map showing countries that smoke the most cannabis Source: The Telegraph

In 2016, a Saudi man was sentenced to 15 years in prison and 1,500 lashes for using a drone to smuggle 1,997 captagon pills and 115 grams of hashish into Jeddah's main prison. 

The following year, Saudi border agents intercepted and arrested two Egyptians attempting to smuggle 745,000 captagon tablets into the kingdom. 

The Telegraph published a report that same year, stating that Egypt ranks as number 25 out of 30 countries in terms of high consumption of cannabis, with 6.24 percent of its population regularly smoking the substance.

The epidemic seems to be most threatening in Egypt, where it has been reported that 10 percent of the population is addicted to drugs; a staggering 9 million people.

Egypt's Minister of Social Solidarity issued a report in 2017 stating that almost 8 percent of high-school students abuse drugs, making the rate of drug abuse in Egypt twice the global rates.

Source: Pxhere

In April 2018, customs officers caught a Pakistani man carrying hashish from his hometown to Abu Dhabi International Airport. 

After being stopped, the man blamed his mother for packing the drug in his bag, claiming she wasn't aware of the UAE's strict laws on drug use.