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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

Saudi Arabia arrests 20, seizes more than half a tonne of hashish

Of the 20 suspects, nine were Ethiopian, nine were Yemeni and two were Somali citizens

A photo made available by the Royal Australian Navy on December 30 2017. Australian Navy personnel have seized hashish and heroin worth about 415 million Australian Dollar( Dh1.2 billion) in the Arabian Sea. EPA
A photo made available by the Royal Australian Navy on December 30 2017. Australian Navy personnel have seized hashish and heroin worth about 415 million Australian Dollar( Dh1.2 billion) in the Arabian Sea. EPA

The Saudi Arabian authorities arrested 20 people and seized 641 kilogrammes of drugs in the past month, a spokesman said on Monday.

The guards in the southern border (Jizan, Najran and Asir) foiled an attempt to smuggle more than half a tonne of hashish, said the spokesman in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

Of the 20 suspects, nine were Ethiopian, none were Yemeni and two were Somali citizens.

The suspects and the drugs seized have been transferred to the relevant authorities to finalise procedures.

In March, Saudi Arabia arrested 22 people and seized more than 400 kilogrammes of hashish and heroin.

Authorities said that the drugs were coming from Yemeni territory -- where the internationally-recognised government of President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi is battling Iran-backed Houthi rebels for control over swathes of land.

Read more: War-linked drugs trade threatens the Arab world

"Border security will not slack at their job to thwart attempts to undermine security," said the spokesman.

"Suspects will be dealt with appropriately and according to the law."

Last year, more than 150 kilogrammes of marijuana and almost three million Captagon tablets were seized in joint GCC operations.

Anti-Narcotics departments from the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Oman foiled four operations and arrested 12 suspects in connection to smuggling drugs during the first half of the year, a senior official said.

Lt Col Saeed Al Suwaidi, director-general of the Anti-Narcotics Federal Directorate General at the UAE’s Ministry of Interior, said that three of the raids were carried out in co-operation with Saudi Arabian authorities and police collaborated with Omani security forces on the fourth.