The trade in illegal drugs is considered to be the world’s third largest business after oil and arms. Contrary to what you might imagine, Saudi Arabia has as serious a drugs problem as any other country. In fact, it’s made many of the world’s biggest amphetamine seizures, and over the last five years has captured and destroyed drugs with a market value of some 29 billion riyals ($7.7bn).
With unprecedented access, Saudi Arabia: The War on Drugs explores the efforts undertaken by the Kingdom’s General Directorate for Narcotics Control (GDNC) to stop the import and distribution of illegal drugs. Filming over a year, the team travelled the length and breadth of the Kingdom. They followed GDNC personnel, customs officers and border guards as they undertook surveillance operations and raids, patrolled the borders and captured drug smugglers.
The film takes the audience behind the scenes with the Riyadh drug squad as they stake out and eventually bust a drugs ring. The dealers are caught with 6.8 million riyals’ ($1.8m) worth of amphetamines, sacks of cash, and several firearms. We also follow the interception of a car at the Jordanian border that’s found to be stuffed with 2.5 million amphetamine tablets.
52 mins, Al Arabiya, 2013
Adel Alabdulkarim & Jonathan Hacker