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Cairo: Egypt’s top appeals court had upheld a ruling earlier issued by a lower court sentencing three Egyptians to 22 years in prison each on charges of attempting

to smuggle tramadol, an opioid painkiller into Saudi Arabia, local media reported.

Previously, a criminal court in the Egyptian coastal city of Damietta had handed down each defendant 15 years in jail for attempting to smuggle 14,000 tramadol tablets and five other years for possessing them.

The Court of Cassation, Egypt’s top appeals tribunal, confirmed the sentences, making them final.

The three convicts were caught attempting to smuggle the tablets to Saudi Arabia inside a truck carrying furniture that police stopped in Damietta.

They were charged with possessing, trading and attempting to smuggle narcotic substances.

An addiction to tramadol, a prescription opioid, can result from lengthy abuse, experts say.