MUSCAT: Oman announced Thursday the seizure of more than six million captagon pills during a bust aided by Saudi Arabia that resulted in the arrest of a smuggling network.
“In cooperation with Saudi authorities”, police in the sultanate tracked and ambushed an “international network that was smuggling large quantities of drugs and psychotropic substances” across land and sea borders, the official Oman News Agency said.
“Six million Captagon pills were seized during the operation,” according to the news agency, which said the drugs were stored in various hideouts and were intended for exporting.
The quantity seized is significant for Oman which usually announces much smaller hauls.
A video released by the police on social media showed officers unloading plastic bags packed with captagon tablets from white cardboard boxes and round plastic containers.
Omani authorities did not specify the intended destination of the drug shipment, but neighbouring Saudi Arabia is believed to be the largest market for the drug.
The vast majority of the region’s captagon, which derives its name from a once legal drug use to combat narcolepsy, is produced in Syria and Lebanon and smuggled to its main consumer market in the Gulf.
Saudi Arabia has hit back after becoming a major captagon market, ending a moratorium on the death penalty for drug cases and launching a widespread crackdown.
The result has so far seen at least 20 executions for drug offences since last year, according to an AFP tally, amid a sharp uptick in arrests.
Saudi Arabia regularly announces seizures of amphetamine pills without specifying whether they are captagon or other types of narcotics.