The haul
The haul Image Credit: Supplied

Duba: In the second largest drug haul in a year, Dubai Customs have seized 274,000 Captagon pills hidden in a vessel appraching the city.

According to Dubai Customs, the officers foiled a drug smuggling attempt in which the smugglers concealed the drugs in the fuel tank of their vessel. They thought inspectors will not search in that hot spot of the vessel near the engine where temperature can reach up to 60 degrees Celsius.

The inspectors got suspicious of the confused dhow captain due to their experience in body language reading. Thorough inspections led to the recovery of 137 plastic bags that contained 274,000 Captagon pills.

“This is the second biggest drug seizure for the Coastal Customs Centers Management after the seizure of 783,800 captagon pills in 201,” according to a statement by Dubai Customs issued on Sunday. There were eight drug seizures in 2018.

Dubai Customs held 13 training workshops last year, and in 1Q training sessions this year to train 78 inspectors.

“Smugglers use different methods to get away with their illegal items but we thwart their attempts due to the vigilance and sophisticated training of our inspectors,” said Ahmed Al Daleel, Head of Coastal Customs Center Management.

“Dubai Customs prevent illegal trade and smuggling of drugs and all restricted goods as part of its vision to protect society and supporting legitimate trade,” he added.

What is Captagon?

Captagon (generic name: fenethylline) was initially produced in the 1960s as a treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) but was later banned in the 1980s due to its highly addictive nature. It was used as an alternative to amphetamine and methamphetamine used at the time to treat narcolepsy, fatigue, and the behavioral disorder “minimal brain dysfunction”.

While commercial manufacturing of the drug has ceased, illegal manufacturing practices continue, combining several highly addictive stimulants that compound the destructive effects of Captagon’s amphetamine and theophylline co-drug combination. Amphetamine drugs stimulate the central nervous system, increasing alertness, boosting concentration and physical performance, and providing a feeling of well-being.

Long-term amphetamine users can suffer from side effects such as extreme depression, sleep deprivation, heart and blood vessel toxicity, and malnutrition.