March 3, 2011 / 9:40 PM / 8 years ago

Libyan authorities accuse al Qaeda of sending in drugs

TRIPOLI, March 3 (Reuters) - Libyan authorities accused al Qaeda on Thursday of trying to smuggle 37 million painkillers into the country to alter the minds of young people to join a revolt against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Mahmoud Ali, who said he was the head of Libya’s anti-narcotics department, said authorities had intercepted shipments of Tramadol which had originated in Dubai and were purchased by a Libyan drug dealer with ties to al Qaeda.

Libyan officials showed journalists cartons of the drugs seized, including ones with images of King Cobra snakes.

“The target was the distribution of the drugs among young people through drug traffickers,” Abdel Haqim Giniwa, another anti-narcotics official, told a news conference.

“Thanks to all the hard work of the security forces, this quantity of the drug was intercepted. It would have caused social and economic disorder.”

He said the drugs were hidden in containers that were identified for furniture, sports equipment and marble tiles.

Gaddafi has said protesters against his rule were brain-washed by al Qaeda and had their milk and Nescafe spiked with hallucinogenic drugs. (Reporting by Michael Georgy, editing by Myra MacDonald)

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