abu dhabi drug busts
Source: zawya

Federal Anti-Narcotic authorities in Abu Dhabi, in cooperation with neighbouring Gulf countries, have confiscated 8 million prohibited Captagon pills in a string of high-profile drug busts.

In order to catch the drug traffickers, several sting operations were carried out at different times and locations. 

Abu Dhabi Police charged the perpetrators with criminal offences like possessing and smuggling dangerous and addictive drugs into the UAE.

According to the Ministry of Interior, the efforts by Federal Anti-Narcotics Department has been consistent and meant to protect vulnerable youth from drug addiction.

According to reports by Gulf News, some suspects attempted to flee to Saudi Arabia, while another tried to exit the UAE through a flight from Sharjah International Airport but was later arrested.

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What is Captagon:

Captagon is one of the brand names for the drug fenethylline, a combination of amphetamine and theophylline that relaxes the muscles around the lungs and is used to treat breathing problems.

A German company, Degussa AG, known today as Evonik, first synthesized fenethylline in 1961, and when it discovered the drug improved alertness, doctors began prescribing it to treat narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. 

Though generally without side effects, overuse can cause extreme depression, tiredness, insomnia, heart palpitations and, in rare cases, blindness and heart attacks. 

In the 1980s, when the drug’s addictiveness became clear, the United States and the World Health Organization listed it as a controlled substance, and it is now illegal to buy and sell throughout most of the world.

Nevertheless, fenethylline remains popular in the Middle East, particularly in Saudi Arabia, where more Captagon is consumed than in any other country in the world. 

In October 2015, Lebanese authorities arrested a Saudi prince at Beirut International Airport after two tons of cocaine and Captagon pills, which sell for roughly $20 (AED 75) per pill in Saudi Arabia, were found on a private plane.

"Operations that seized around 8 million captagon tablets."