Lebanon seizes Captagon concealed in tea shipment

Lebanon seizes Captagon concealed in tea shipment
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A large quantity of Captagon hidden in a tea shipment bound for Saudi Arabia were seized, Lebanese authorities said Tuesday
The amphetamine pills, likely manufactured in Lebanon or Syria, were concealed in a seven-tonne shipment of tea at Beirut port [Anadolu Agency/Getty]

Lebanese authorities seized a large quantity of Captagon hidden in a tea shipment bound for Saudi Arabia, the interior minister announced Tuesday.

"Painstaking police work led to the seizure of a Captagon shipment, which was headed to Togo in Africa," Bassam Mawlawi said at a press conference.

The shipment's final destination was meant to be Saudi Arabia, which the UN Office on Drugs and Crime says is the world's biggest consumer of Captagon, a stimulant derived from a banned fenethylline-based drug.

The amphetamine pills, likely manufactured in Lebanon or Syria, were concealed in a seven-tonne shipment of tea at Beirut port, Mawlawi said.

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Saudi Arabia slapped devastating trade restrictions last year on Beirut after a huge shipment originating from Lebanon was seized, containing Captagon concealed in pomegranates.

Lebanon is embroiled in its worst ever economic crisis and is keen to mend ties with the kingdom and other Gulf countries.

In another major seizure at Beirut port last month, around nine million Captagon pills were found hidden in fake oranges.

According to an AFP count, more than 25 million pills of Captagon have been seized across the region since the start of the year alone.