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AND foils attempt to smuggle 600,000 illegal narcotic pills

Sleuths seized 47 million Captagon pills in 2018 — PSD

By Rana Husseini - Jun 12,2019 - Last updated at Jun 12,2019

AMMAN — The Anti-Narcotics Department (AND) on Tuesday announced the arrest of four men including two Arab nationals who reportedly attempted to smuggle 600,000 illegal narcotic pills into a neighbouring country.

The suspects were arrested after AND agents were tipped off about a plan “to smuggle 600,000 illegal pills by hiding them in two trailers”, Police Spokesperson Lt. Col. Amer Sartawi said.

“The suspects were monitored by operatives, and were pulled over near the border crossing where their vehicles were searched,” the police official told The Jordan Times.

AND agents found the pills hidden in secret compartments carved into large construction stones, a senior police official said.

“The pills were carefully stashed inside dozens of construction stones and the suspects placed dozens of normal stones over the ones with the illegal drugs as a decoy,” the police official told The Jordan Times.

The suspects were referred to the State Security Court prosecutor for further questioning and indictment, according to a statement from the Public Security Department.

According to PSD figures in 2018, AND agents seized 47 million Captagon pills, 2,093 kilogrammes of hashish, 155 kilogrammes of “joker” (synthetic cannabis), 74,738 kilogrammes of marijuana, 10,557 kilogrammes of heroin, 1,693 kilogrammes of cocaine and 820,790 various pills.

Captagon (fenethylline) is a synthetic stimulant similar to amphetamine.

The pills are usually manufactured and transported from neighbouring countries in the north via Jordan to rich countries on the southern borders, AND officials have told The Jordan Times in previous interviews.

PSD officials have said that drug smugglers “target rich countries because one Captagon pill there is worth JD7, while its market value in Jordan is around JD1 per pill”.

Although banned in most countries in the 1980s, illegally produced and smuggled Captagon — sometimes containing amphetamine instead of fenethylline — is a common drug abused in the Middle East, according to web sources.

Also on Tuesday, the Sisterhood is Global Institute (SIGI) reported the occurrence of 18,400 incidents involving illegal narcotics in Jordan in 2018, according to the Department of Statistics reports.

Of the over 18,000 reported illicit drugs incidents, 3,050 were drug-trafficking crimes, while the rest (15,365) were reported incidents involving possession and use of narcotics.

SIGI said in its statement that there has been a 70 per cent increase in drug-related crimes in the Kingdom in the past five years.

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