Drug smuggling is a very normal thing at the airports all over the world. The immigration officers catch multiple smugglers daily from several airports around the globe in which certain countries and their seaports, as well as airports, are very well-known. But when this news emerged for the airport of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, it sure was shocking news. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has very strict rules about not only drug use but its handling and storage as well and if a person is caught with the drugs then he must undergo severe punishment or penalty by the law enforcing officers.[irp]
The Islamic month of Dul-Hajj comes forth with huge numbers of pilgrims wishful of visiting the Holy mosques and performing the Hajj, this means huge rush at the airport and the difficulty in monitoring for the security and customs officers. The foreign transportation companies which are responsible for drug smuggling have used this opportunity to try to smuggle the drugs in the Kingdom. But they did not take the highly vigilant custom officers into account who caught the act and disclosed it. The gangs who are responsible for the smuggling transport the drugs by hiding it in the luggage of the pilgrims.
Not only drugs, these organized gangs are responsible for the smuggling of precious metals in addition to the violation of many other rules about the customs. The authorities have denied the media the privilege of unmasking the gangs saying that this might create discord among the countries and may result in political and peace related issues.
The Saudi Customs Authority found Captagon, Tramadol, Qoro, and Qat among large quantities of other illegal drugs. These drugs were found as medicines but upon interrogation, the handlers were found without their prescription. A Huge sum of currency was also found in the smuggled mix of drugs, and precious metals. According to the authorities, the convicts mixed the bags of smuggled material with the plain luggage in such a way that their identification became impossible. The smuggled materials were caught by the special x-ray machines and trained dogs kept by the Saudi immigration authority.[irp]
The Saudi custom authority has an automated mechanism to underwent the smuggling attempts and have trained their officers against these situations. They had an exhibit to showcase the types of illegal drugs, different methods of smuggling items and how to deal when such situations arise. During the peak season of Hajj, the customs officers remain highly vigilant and check the luggage with utmost details so that these types of gangs can be caught before they take advantage of the rush and smuggle illegal goods in the kingdom.
Source: Arab News