Ex-Saudi Official Held for Alleging Hajj Drug Smuggling Cover-up

A Saudi major has been detained for alleging regime insiders ran drug smuggling operations under the cover of the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, Britain's Telegraph newspaper reports on Monday.

Tens of thousands of Muslim pilgrims attend Hajj prayers at the holy Kaaba in 2006.
AP /Khalil Hamra

A Saudi major was detained for alleging regime insiders ran drug smuggling operations under the cover of the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, the Telegraph newspaper reported on Monday.

Turki bin Hamza al-Rashidi claimed that Saudi officials used documentation for a busload of pilgrims cleared for Mecca to clear another bus loaded with drugs to enter the country, according to the report.

Rashidi claimed the scam has been going on for decade, and that he was sacked after lodging a complaint, and sent to work at a remote Saudi border.

“For 30 years this has been going on and on, but no good police officer discovered this. Because I am the one who discovered this, they will kill me,” says Rashidi who claims to have once worked in narcotics control.

“I was doing a job for the country investigating a case. Now I am wanted, I am on the computer. I want to know what crime I have done? I have done nothing,” he reportedly said.

The penalty for drug trafficking in Saudi Arabia is death. The Saudi Embassy in London reportedly declined to comment.