A Saudi prince and nine other individuals have been charged with drug smuggling by Lebanese authorities, Reuters reported, a week after authorities intercepted two tons of illegal drugs at the Beirut airport. Authorities have also referred the case to a local judge for further investigation.
The prince, identified by media reports as Abdulmohsen bin Walid bin Abdulmohsen bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, may face trial in Lebanon, where drug policies are much more lenient than under Saudi Arabia’s strict interpretation of sharia law. A number of individuals convicted of drug trafficking charges have been beheaded by Saudi authorities in recent months, and Saudi authorities threatened to flog a 74-year-old British man for making homemade wine.
As Foreign Policy points out, Saudi Arabia’s severe punishments for those involved in illicit substances often do not apply to members of the royal family, who almost never face charges.
The prince and three other people charged were at the airport at the time of the drug bust, and remain in custody. The BBC reported that the other five—two Saudis and three Lebanese—are still at large.
The Beirut airport has referred to the bust the largest in its history. Officials found 2.2 tons (2 metric tons) of a popular amphetamine, Captagon, along with some amounts of cocaine, on the prince’s private jet. Captagon, produced in Lebanon and Syria, is widely known to be used by fighters in Syria to stay alert.