Dubai Police Seizes $1B Worth of 'Captagon' Amphetamines

    Dubai Police Seizes $1B Worth of 'Captagon' Amphetamines
    Last updated Sep 15, 2023
    Image credit: US Army [via Wikimedia Commons]


    • Dubai Police have seized 86M tablets of the amphetamine known as "Captagon" — valued at over $1B — smuggled into the country hidden in a shipment of doors and wooden panels.
    • Six people were arrested in relation to the seizure. An international gang was allegedly planning to ship the illicit narcotics in five storage containers to the UAE.
    • However, Dubai police reportedly detained the first suspect after he submitted an extraction claim on three out of the five flagged containers. The officers then followed the shipment to an industrial area to apprehend the rest.
    • The illicit drug — weighing more than 13 tons and hidden in 651 doors and 432 panels — was brought in on a cargo ship and was reportedly destined for another country.
    • UAE's interior minister, Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed, stated, "The UAE will take firm action against anyone who thinks of threatening the society's safety and stability."
    • Captagon smuggling into the Gulf has been traced back to Syria, where criminal gangs have reportedly set up massive production facilities to manufacture the drug.


    Pro-establishment narrative

    The Arab Gulf states will have to reconsider normalization with the Syrian regime, as Damascus, with the help of Iran and its proxies, continues to act as a rogue narco-state, polluting the entire region and beyond with illicit amphetamines. The connection between the Syrian regime and the drug trade is well-documented. Curbing drug smuggling must be a top priority for the Arab League as it deals with Assad and his cronies.

    Establishment-critical narrative

    Though Gulf-funded media may seek to spread falsehoods that the Syrian government and Hezbollah are producing and smuggling Captagon, one should be dubious of these claims considering the links with Saudi Arabia. Riyadh is one of the biggest consumers of illicit amphetamines, and Syria and Lebanon have become Captagon production hubs due to US-backed economic collapse via war and sanctions. This trade is very much a Gulf-oriented phenomenon.

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