Saudi border agents recently intercepted and arrested two Egyptians attempting to smuggle hundreds of thousands of captagon tablets into the kingdom.
The two men tried to bring the 745,000 amphetamine tablets via a boat, which intended to land near the Haql beaches of the Saudi coastline. But, the craft was spotted by marine patrols and stopped, according to Arab News.
As the Saudi patrols approached, the men quickly tried to return to Egyptian waters but were caught before they could escape, Border Guards spokesman Col. Saher bin Mohammed Al-Harbi explained.
After inspection, the Saudi patrol found the drugs and arrested the two smugglers. The Border Guards reiterated their commitment to prevent smugglers from bringing drugs and criminal activity into the kingdom.
Last year, 4,656 people were arrested during 6447 smuggling attempts, Ministry of Interior Security Spokesman Maj. Mansour Al-Turki said on Wednesday, according to the Saudi Gazette.
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 kg of hashish, 18,157,902 narcotic pills, 3311 kg of qat and 4 kg of opium were seized in 2016. Additionally, more than 3,500 firearms were confiscated from smugglers.
In a 2015 interview, Abdelelah Mohammed Al-Sharif, who was the 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.