A Lebanese criminal court has sentenced a Saudi Prince who is member of the Saudi royal family – dubbed the “Captagon Prince” – and his bodyguard to prison with hard labor for attempting to smuggle drugs out of Beirut’s airport.
The court sentenced Prince Abdul Mohsen bin Walid bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud and his bodyguard, Saudi national Yahya al-Shammari, to 10 years in prison with hard labor, after they were convicted of drug trafficking.
The Saudi prince was arrested at Beirut’s Rafik Hariri International Airport in 2015 after nearly 2 tons of Captagon – an amphetamine drug popular among partygoers and front-line militia fighters – was found on his private plane.
Hammoud also handed down one-year prison sentences and LL2 million in fines for Saudi nationals Bandar Sharari, Ziad al-Hakim and Mubarak al-Harthy, who were involved in the operation. They were released earlier on time served. The judge also passed in absentia life sentences in prison with hard labor for Lebanese citizens Hasan Jaafar, Ali Ismail and Marwan al-Kilani, fining them LL100 million each.
During the sentencing, the judge said the prince and his assistant Shammari had agreed with Harthy to smuggle Captagon from Lebanon to Saudi Arabia.
Once in Lebanon, the Saudi prince’s aid contacted Jaafar and Ismail, who put the pills inside nylon bags concealed within suitcases.
Shammari then transported the suitcases from the Four Seasons Hotel on Beirut’s waterfront to the airport in a van hired by Kilani, with the intent of loading the cargo onto Prince Abdel-Mohsen’s private plane. However, when the bags passed through the airport scanners, customs officers discovered the drugs, seized them and arrested the suspects.
During Shammari’s hearing in November 2017, he said he had only been carrying out orders given to him by Prince Abdel-Mohsen. He said that Harthy, one of the prince’s senior assistants, told him there were two packs of Viagra pills hidden in furniture to go to Saudi Arabia, and that they needed to be transported to Beirut’s airport in a rental van along with the prince’s belongings.
Shammari added that Prince Abdel-Mohsen ordered him to rent the van used to transport the Captagon. “I do not take any step without his orders,” he said.