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Saudi Arabia Blocks Smugglers

May 16, 2001

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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) _ Saudi customs officials foiled 2,903 attempts to smuggle illegal products _ including alcohol, pornography and weapons _ into the country last year, according to a government report.

The Saudi Customs Authority annual report, issued late Tuesday, also said that 2,554 people were arrested by authorities during the year but did not say if the arrests were related to the smuggling of illegal material.

Officials stopped 1,041 attempts to smuggle alcohol into the kingdom, 955 attempts to smuggle pornographic material and 206 attempts to bring in prohibited literature and art, according to the report.

They also stopped a smaller number of attempts to smuggle drugs, ammunition, weapons and banned religious material, the report said.

The items were seized at land crossings, airports and ports, according to the report.

Saudi Arabia follows a strict interpretation of Islam that prescribes the death penalty for murder, rape, drug trafficking and armed robbery. Alcohol trafficking carries a sentence of up to 10 years in jail and flogging.

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