Security sources announced Wednesday that a Saudi national was detained at Istanbul's Atatürk Airport on March 11 after police found 254,784 Captagon pills in his possession.
The suspect, identified as 39-year-old T.G.A., was at the airport to board a flight to Saudi Arabia when counter-narcotics officers chasing him upon suspicion. He was stopped at the terminal and a search of his suitcase revealed pills hidden in packages of desserts weighing more than 42 kilos. T.G.A was referred to a court and subsequently arrested.
Saudi Arabia is one of the main markets for Captagon. According to a Reuters report, experts estimate that some 40 percent of drug users between the ages of 12 and 22 in Saudi Arabia are addicted to Captagon, a pill commonly seized in operations in Turkey. In March 2018, Istanbul police seized 320,000 Captagon pills bound for Saudi Arabia. Captagon, a synthetic drug made from amphetamine fenethylline, is cheap to produce and its composition includes widely available legal substances.
Turkey is a transit country for drug smugglers working between Asia and Europe. Turkish security forces carried out more than 134,000 narcotics operations in 2018, according to the Interior Ministry. Yesterday, security forces seized 79 kilograms of heroin in an anti-smuggling operation in southeastern Turkey's Gaziantep province. Acting upon intelligence, the counter-narcotics branch of the police followed a truck with a foreign license plate that crossed into Turkey from the Habur border gate along the Iraqi border. Police stopped and searched the truck in Nurdağı district and found the heroin stored in packages concealed with spices. The driver of the truck was detained by the police.
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