Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat – The Saudi Interior Ministry announced on Friday that it had foiled a major plot to smuggle drugs into Gulf States – including Saudi Arabia – by an extremely well-organized Iranian-based criminal outfit, seizing half a ton of Hashish in the process.
The Saudi Interior Ministry issued a statement revealing that Saudi security forces had seized half a ton – or 1,102 pounds – of Hashish on a ship off the country’s eastern coast, whilst 11 Pakistani and 5 Iranian nationals were arrested for their involvement in this plot to smuggle illegal narcotics into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Interior Ministry spokesman Major General Mansour al-Turki informed Asharq Al-Awsat that investigations are ongoing and that those arrested will be charged by the Saudi judiciary.
According to information provided by well-informed Saudi sources, Iranian security apparatus are also expected to become involved in the investigations.
Speaking on Saudi state television yesterday, Major General Mansour al-Turki revealed that preliminary investigations revealed that those arrested are part of a major international drug-smuggling ring based in Iran, and that the plan was to smuggle drugs from Iran into Saudi Arabia, and then from Saudi Arabia into other Arab Gulf states.
He revealed that the drug smugglers had attempted to infiltrate Saudi Arabian territorial waters but had been caught in the process of smuggling the drugs into the country.
Major General al-Turki also stressed that the Saudi authorities are continuing to investigate this crime and are committed to eradicating drug trafficking and protecting Saudi society from this.
The Saudi Interior Ministry spokesman also revealed that Saudi authorities have previously foiled other attempts to smuggle drugs into the country via the eastern coast, and that confessions from previous arrested suspects reveal that Iran is a major route for drug-trafficking into the Kingdom. He added that this drug-trafficking operation, and others, had been foiled thanks to the hard work and expertise of various Saudi Arabia security agencies and apparatus.
Major General al-Turki also stressed that Saudi Arabia is committed to coordinating with all countries to combat the threat of drug smuggling and prevent Saudi territory from being exploited in this manner. He said that Riyadh will be providing Tehran with all relevant information from its investigations with the suspects. He added that Riyadh is keen for positive international cooperation to combat drug-smuggling, and that Saudi Arabia will cooperate with Iran to deal with such criminal threats.
Saudi Arabia arrested a total of 978 people on charges relating to drug trafficking between March and October 201, seizing drugs worth an estimated 1.7 billion Saudi Riyals [SR] over this 8 month period.
Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat in October last year, Saudi Interior Ministry spokesman Major General Mansour al-Turki stressed that drug-trafficking represented a “true threat” to Saudi Arabia.