201222 amphetamine
Some of the smuggled amphetamines. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: Saudi authorities have foiled attempts to smuggle and sell nearly 19 million amphetamine tablets and arrested 16 accused people including 10 citizens and 6 residents, spokesman for the General Directorate for Narcotics Control, Captain Mohammad bin Khalid Al Najidi, said.

The Narcotics Control Department said a five-member gang, whose Saudi members were allegedly involved in receiving and promoting narcotic substances, was busted in Riyadh and nearly 10 million amphetamine tablets hidden inside iron cylinders, were seized.

In a separate operation in Jeddah, in cooperation with the General Authority for Customs, a criminal cell, made up of five citizens and five residents, was arrested in Jeddah, after its agents received nearly six million amphetamine tablets hidden inside a shipment of clothes belts.

In another operation in Haditha Port, a resident was arrested after he allegedly attempted to smuggle nearly 3.25 million amphetamine tablets, hidden inside a potato shipment.

Captain Al Najidi said legal measures were taken against the suspect, who were referred to the prosecution, pending further investigation and trial.

Amphetamine is a powerful stimulator of the central nervous system. It is used to treat some medical conditions, but it is also highly addictive, with a history of abuse.