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Authorities bust Arab national in attempted drug smuggle at border

By Rana Husseini - May 20,2019 - Last updated at May 20,2019

AMMAN — The Anti-Narcotics Department (AND) on Sunday announced the arrest of an Arab national who reportedly attempted to smuggle over 1 million illegal narcotic pills to a neighbouring country on Saturday night.

The suspect was arrested after AND agents were tipped off about a plan “to smuggle 1.25 million illegal pills by hiding them in his vehicle”, Police Spokesperson Lt. Col. Amer Sartawi said.

“The suspect was monitored by operatives, and the minute he arrived to the border crossing he was arrested and his vehicle searched,” the police official told The Jordan Times.

AND agents found the pills hidden in secret compartments, according to a Public Security Department (PSD) statement.

The suspect was referred to the State Security Court prosecutor for further questioning and indictment, according to the PSD statement.

According to PSD figures in 2018, AND agents seized 47 million Captagon pills, 2,093 kilogrammes of hashish, 155 kilogrammes of “joker”, 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 does not exceed 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.

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