Saudi border guards have caught a group of smugglers attempting to bring more than half a ton of hashish into the kingdom.
The seven drug traffickers were arrested by Jazan border police after they tried to transport 618 kilograms of hashish into Saudi Arabia, local media reported this week.
Col. Saher Al-Harbi, the spokesperson for the border guards, explained that "the guards foiled the smuggling attempt by people who tried to use fishermen to mislead security men," according to Arab News.
The smugglers buried a massive quantity of hashish on one of the islands of the province of Fursan, Al Arabiya reported. Another large stash was found and confiscated in another location as well.
Of the seven individuals arrested, five were Saudis and two were Yemenis, Al-Harbi said.
This latest bust comes just a few weeks after 35 smugglers were arrested attempting to bring 672 kilograms of hashish into Saudi Arabia. Twenty-three of those smugglers were Ethiopians and 12 were Yemenis.
"The confiscated drugs and the suspects were duly referred to the appropriate authorities for further legal procedures," Al-Harbi told Saudi media after the traffickers were detained.
Saudi authorities have been working hard to crack down on drug smuggling into the kingdom. In November, Saudi border patrol agents intercepted and arrested two Egyptians attempting to smuggle in hundreds of thousands of captagon tablets.
The two men tried to bring the 745,000 amphetamine tablets via a boat, which was meant to land near the Haql beaches of the Saudi coastline. However, the craft was spotted by marine patrols and stopped.
In 2016, 4,656 people were arrested during 6,447 smuggling attempts, Ministry of Interior Security Spokesman Maj. Mansour Al-Turki said last year.
There were 3,559 attempts by smugglers to cross the Saudi border, involving 27,264 people, according to Al-Turki. The vast majority were apprehended while attempting to enter the kingdom, while about 1,200 were caught trying to leave.
The smugglers hailed from a variety of nations, including 2,800 Yemenis, 1,343 Ethiopians, 455 Saudis and numerous Somalis, Eritreans, Filipinos, Pakistanis, Indians, Egyptians, Jordanians, Sudanese, and Bangladeshis.
In total, 22 tons and 59 kilograms of hashish, 18,157,902 narcotic pills, 3311 kilograms of qat and 4 kilograms of opium were seized in 2016. Additionally, more than 3,500 firearms were confiscated from smugglers.
"Anti-Drug Authority: Sharing 'hashish" jokes on social media networks is considered a form of promotion for drug-use."
Late last the year, the kingdom's Anti-Drug Authority even came out against the prevalence of jokes about hashish on social media. An official from the authority said that such jokes promote the use of drugs.