Five Saudis, including a member of Saudi Arabia’s royal family, Saudi Prince Abdel Mohsen bin Walid bin Abdulaziz, was detained by airport security as he was boarding at Beirut’s Rafik Hariri International Airport on Monday.
The prince and and five nationals are accused of “attempting to smuggle about two tonnes of Captagon pills and some cocaine,” a security source told AFP.
“The smuggling operation is the largest one that has been foiled through the Beirut International Airport,” the source said on condition of anonymity.
Captagon, the brand name for amphetamine phenethylline, is a synthetic stimulant which was developed in the 1960s – but, discontinued in the 1980s due to its high addictive side effect- is widely consumed in the Middle East, especially in Syria.
The drug has triggered the conflict in Syria, producing millions of dollars in income for producers in the country as well as being used by fighters to help them keep fighting.
The pills have “the typical effects of a stimulant” and produce “a kind of euphoria [feeling] — you’re talkative, you don’t sleep, you don’t eat, you’re energetic” according to Lebanese psychiatrist Ramzi Haddad.
— Nasser Atta (@nasseratta5) 26 October 2015
In April 2014, security forces blocked the access of smuggling 15 million capsules of Cantagon, that were concealed in shipping containers full of corn from Beirut’s port.
This isn't the first time Saudi Arabia’s royal family has had run-in's with authorities in various countries.
Late last month, a Saudi prince was arrested in Los Angeles for allegedly trying to rape a woman at a Beverly Hill Mansion but, authorities decided not to pursue the charge, citing a lack of evidence.
Additionally, in 2013, a Saudi princess was accused in Los Angeles of enslaving a Kenyan woman as a housemaid, but the charges were also eventually dropped.