Lebanon’s Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi announced Tuesday that the country confiscated a huge quantity of Captagon pills concealed in a tea cargo intended for Saudi Arabia.
The consignment was bound for Saudi Arabia, which according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime is the world’s largest consumer of Captagon, a stimulant made from a prohibited fenethylline derivative.
Mawlawi told Lebanese television that the tablets were discovered stashed inside more than 450 crates of tea on their route to Togo via sea. He stated that the shipment would have been transferred to Saudi Arabia at that point.
The Middle East is experiencing a Captagon crisis, as production, trafficking, and consumption of the substance have increased dramatically over the last decade, with the little, off-white pills becoming the region’s most popular drug.
“Excruciating police work resulted in the seizure of a Captagon consignment bound for Togo in Africa,” Mawlawi stated during a press briefing. The consignment would then be transported from the African country to Saudi Arabia, according to Lebanese security services.
Last year, Saudi Arabia imposed crippling trade restrictions on Beirut in response to the recovery of a massive consignment originating in Lebanon and containing Captagon disguised in pomegranates.
Lebanon is undergoing its most severe economic crisis in decades and is attempting to heal fences with the Kingdom and other Gulf states over statements made by Lebanon’s former information minister on the operations conducted by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.