Lebanon Charges Saudi Prince Over Record Drug Haul

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The drugs were packed into cases that were waiting to be loaded onto a private plane headed to Saudi Arabia [Hussein Malla/AP]

The drugs were packed into cases that were waiting to be loaded onto a private plane headed to Saudi Arabia [Hussein Malla/AP]

Tazeen Hasan

Middle East Contributor 

A Saudi prince detained last week has been charged with drug trafficking along with nine others in Beirut, Reuters reported. According to Lebanese National News agency NNA, Lebanese court charged  Saudi prince identified as Abdulmohsen bin Walid bin Abdulmohsen bin Abdulaziz Al Saud for smuggling two tonnes of Captagon drug via a private jet bounded for Saudi Arabia. NNA further reported that 40 bags of Captagon pills were found by inspectors  on board a jet bound for Hael province, in Northern Saudi Arabia. So far, there are no comments from Saudi authorities.

Banned in many countries for being too addictive, the drug has been in use since 1960’s for the treatment of depression, hyperactivity and narcolepsy. The drug is said to fuel Syrian crises as it generates millions of dollars every year and is a source of revenue for Syrian Combatant groups. According to AFP, Lebanese security forces thwarted an attempt to smuggle 15 million Captagon pills hidden in shipping containers full of corn from Beirut’s seaport, in April 2014.
Notably, it is the largest drug seizure incident at any Lebanese airport. However, this is not an isolated case of drug smuggling by any prince of the oil-rich Kingdom. In May 2007, Prince Naif Bin Sultan bin Fawwaz bin Shaalan, a maternal grandson of King Abdulaziz, was convicted by a French court in absentia for trafficking two tonnes of cocaine from Colombia at a Parisian airport. Prince Naif, a high-ranking diplomat, is a graduate of Princeton University and an investor in Colombian and Venezuelan oil industry.

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