Security forces have arrested 475 people for being allegedly involved in smuggling and trafficking drugs worth more than SR1.71 billion (approx. € 334 mln) into the Kingdom during the last four months.
Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki said the suspects included 204 Saudis and 72 Yemenis in addition to 199 of other nationalities. The arrests took place between June and September.
“In some operations, police faced stiff resistance from the smugglers and this resulted in the death of Majed bin Mubarak Al-Rahmani and injuries to eight other security officers,” Al-Turki said. A drug trafficker died and three others injured in another operation.
He said the Kingdom’s drug enforcement agency carried out six operations during the period. In the first one, they seized 15.9 kg of heroin and 1.02 kg in the second.
They foiled attempts to smuggle in 25.22 kg of cocaine in the third operation, 13.54 million drug pills in the fourth, 8,346 kg of hashish in the fifth and 1.63 million drug tablets in the sixth.
Police also seized SR6.63 million in cash from the suspects.
Al-Turki commended the cooperation between the Customs Department and the drug enforcement agency in preventing attempts to smuggle drugs into the Kingdom.
The ministry said police had arrested 503 suspects including 252 Saudis and 24 other nationals for their involvement in drug trafficking in March, April and May this year.
Speaking to reporters, Al-Turki urged pilgrims who come for Haj and Umrah to be cautious about people giving them gifts at airports as they may contain drugs and this would endanger their lives.
“Security and customs officers would not be concerned with identifying the real culprits behind drug smuggling operations. They will be arresting those who carry drugs,” he pointed out.
He said the new security system on the northern border would be completed by the end of this year, adding that it would play a big role in preventing drug smuggling in the area.
Speaking about the car that exploded during an anti-drug operation, Al-Turki said the vehicle was carrying a huge amount of drugs and firecrackers.
“When the smugglers saw police they opened fire at them and in the ensuing gunbattle the car caught fire.”
He said drug smugglers target Saudi youths to make money. He spoke about the different tricks used by smugglers to bring drugs into the Kingdom.
The spokesman said it is the duty of the Justice Ministry to punish drug traffickers after determining their roles.
“Drug traffickers exploit the situation of countries to intensify their operations,” he said, adding that Al-Qaeda is also engaged in drug trafficking to mobilize funds for its activities.
Al-Turki said police have arrested foreigners engaged in money laundering operations as they attempted to transfer money obtained from drug sales to beneficiaries abroad.
He said police arrested six people including two pharmacists for promoting various narcotic pills and seized from them 367,000 pills that are banned in the Kingdom.
“We have seized 4.13 million amphetamine tablets hidden inside iron structures used for building construction,” he said.