Saudi Arabia’s customs servicemen, counting up to 1,200 member, have successfully foiled gang attempts of trafficking drugs during the Hajj season this year.
With over 1.4 million pilgrims arriving to the kingdom this time of the year, drug traffickers seek the opportune moment to exploit the massive influx of visitors.
Saudi customs, especially at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah and Medina’s Prince Mohammad bin Abdulaziz Airport, dedicated to receiving pilgrims, are the first line of defense against crimes.
Customs servicemen have long proved to be guardians of national security. During Hajj, customs also facilitate and ensure that the pilgrims' trip remains safe.
According to Issa al-Issa, an official spokesman for Saudi customs, the Hajj season is exploited by many drugs smugglers.
Al-Issa told Asharq Al-Awsat that the customs personnel rely on inspections of modern technologies such as, live surveillance, sniffer dogs, as well as scanning through suspect bodies with radio waves.
Al-Issa said that Saudi customs deployed over 1,200 individuals to implement a pro-active plan and monitor main ports for the arrival of pilgrims nationwide.
Authorities assigned 317 servicemen to Prince Mohammed Bin Abdul Aziz Airport in Madinah.
On another hand, a total of 895 customs members were deployed to King Abdul Aziz Airport in Jeddah is about.
As for difficulties faced by customs officials during the Hajj season, Al-Issa said that Hajj season is quite challenging, but accumulated customs experience accounts for what is needed to meet these challenges.
Saudi Customs work to protect the country and society from health hazards and security threats by preventing the entry of contraband, all kinds of drugs, weapons and explosives.
It also works on contributing to the achievement of Kingdom Vision 2030.
Based on economic grounds, customs are tasked with prohibiting the entry of counterfeit goods and items violating intellectual property rights, or in violation of standard specifications, to ensure consumer protection.
Customs also facilitate export procedures that contribute to opening up international markets to local products.