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Calls for supporting Saudi Arabia’s agriculture sector following Captagon drug bust

Saudi customs officers discovered millions of Captagon pills in a shipment of pomegranates arriving from Lebanon. Saudi Press Agency via AP

“It is easier for us than to import what can be packed with Captagon,” a Saudi journalist said in support of the Kingdom’s local agricultural sector.

This comes after Saudi Arabia confiscated a fruit shipment coming from Lebanon with millions of Captagon pills last week.

Following the drug bust, Saudi authorities decided to ban fruits and vegetable imports from Lebanon.

Captagon was first produced in 1961 as a substitute for amphetamine and methamphetamine, which were commonly used to treat narcolepsy, fatigue, and the behavioural condition “minimal brain dysfunction” at the time.

Illegal manufacturing, on the other hand, has continued and has recently increased in Europe and the Middle East. According to some reports, Captagon is one of the more common recreational drugs among Middle Eastern affluent youth.

Saudi prominent journalist, Adhwan Alahmari, called for a campaign to support local agriculture in the Kingdom and to limit imports following the incident with Lebanon.

Alahmari tweeted: “Similar to” Made in Saudi Arabia, I hope to support the local agricultural product and launch the” Plant in Saudi Arabia campaign.”

The Saudi journalist added: “Al-Taif pomegranate, its grapes, Asir, northern olives, and others that grow the land in the north, south, east and west, prevent the import of what can be filled with Captagon. We only import what is not cultivated with the local environment.”

Saudi authorities said last week that they had seized 5.3 million Captagon pills and 2.4 million amphetamine tablets hidden inside pomegranates imported from Lebanon.

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