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Beirut Airport Seizes 230 kg of Drugs

FILE - A customs officer displays Captagon pills, part of the 789 kilograms (1739 pounds) of confiscated drugs, before their incineration in Sofia, Bulgaria, in 2007.

Lebanese customs officials discovered 230 kg of Captagon amphetamine pills hidden inside tables prepared for export to the Gulf state of Qatar from Beirut international airport, the Finance Ministry said in a statement on Friday.

The ministry, which oversees the customs department, provided photos of the white pills crammed inside table beams and said 1.5 million in total were discovered late on Thursday.

There were no immediate details on who had been trying to transport them, but the statement said an investigation into the smuggling attempt was continuing.

The drugs bust comes days after Lebanese authorities detained five Saudi citizens at the airport after finding two tons of the same drug abroad a private jet bound for the Gulf kingdom.

Lebanon's National News Agency described that capture it as the biggest smuggling operation ever discovered at the Beirut airport.

Consumption of Captagon outside the Middle East is negligible, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said last year, but it is a significant drug in the Gulf.

Lebanon and neighboring Syria are conduit routes for the drug.