«Methamphetamine»: «Master Killer» Produced in Wadi Hadramout


Wed, 23-03-2022 11:51 AM, Aden Time

Abdullah Al-Shadli (South24)

Despite the global drug invasion, a new synthetic type of drug known as “Shabu” has appeared in recent years in Hadramout governorate, South Yemen. 

In this report, "South24" investigates the spread of Shabu in the governorate, and reveals information it obtained from private sources. In addition to exclusive pictures showing a laboratory for its production. The report hosts anti-narcotics officials in the governorate to recount their ongoing battle against these contrabands.

Master killer

The names of this type of drug vary, as it is known as "Shabu", "Ice", and "Crystal meth". But a "Master killer" is the name doctors prefer for this chemical compound.

The scientific name for Shabu is "methamphetamine"; It is a very powerful central nervous system stimulant chemical drug. It belongs primarily to recreational drugs and is used to a lesser extent in second-line treatments for ADHD [1].

Shabu is rapidly addictive, due to its direct effect on the central nervous system, and is considered a stimulant of the psychoactive group of amphetamines and phenethylamines. It is described as one of the most powerful drugs that have ever created [2].

According to Dr. Ali Qarqar, an addiction treatment specialist at Dar Al-Shifa Specialized Hospital in Egypt, "high doses of Shabu directly cause a state of mania and euphoria."

In an interview with "South24", Qarqar added, "in any case, the wrong use of amphetamines outside medical supervision causes addiction, and makes people captive to crystal meth without exaggeration."

Regarding the reasons for consuming this drug, Qarqar explained that “it is one of the stimulating substances or stimuli that young people may resort to because of a passion for the experience or reasons related to its effect, such as waking up for a long time, or the effect of increasing sexual desire."

He continued, "In the long term, crystal meth causes stress, nervousness, weight loss, dental carries and the destruction of liver cells."

Regarding the age group at which drug mania begins, Qarqar said, "it may start at any age, although the most common is adolescence due to peer pressure, in addition to the possibility of excessive mood disorders during this period."

“The danger of this type of drug exceeds all types combined, including heroin and Captagon,” says Colonel Abdullah Hamdi, director of the Narcotics Control Department in Hadramaut Coast. Abdullah added to "South24": "Its abuse is also linked to sessions of Qat use among young people."

Shabu production in Hadramout

Exclusive photos obtained by "South24" from private sources showed a factory for Shabu production in Hadramout governorate. According to the sources, this factory is located in one of Wadi Hadramout regions, and Yemenis, Pakistanis and people of other nationalities work in it.

A factory for producing Shabu in Wadi Hadramout, South Yemen (South24) 

According to Colonel Hamdi, "producing shabu is not difficult if chemical laboratories are available." He added, "Recently, we began to suspect that Shabu - which East Asia is the natural cradle of its spread - is being prepared in Hadramout."

Regarding the price of shabu, Hamdi stated that the price of one gram of it in Hadramout “has reached over 30,000 Yemeni riyals, or 100 Saudi riyals in recent years,” and pointed out that “currently, the price of a gram of shabu has fallen to 14,000 thousand riyals."

Hamdi explained this significant decrease as "the production of shabu has already started in Hadramout, instead of smuggling it from abroad." He revealed to "South24" that the Narcotics Control Department in Hadramout Coast has information about the existence of factories for the production of shabu in Hadramout, but it has not been able to locate them so far.

A factory for producing Shabu in Wadi Hadramout, South Yemen (South24) 

Hamdi believes that building Shabu factories in Hadramout came "as a result of the security services' clampdown on this type of drug at air, sea and land ports."

For his part, Captain Mohamed Ghallab, the former director of Narcotics Control Department in Wadi Hadramout, confirmed the existence of factories for the production of shabu in the Wadi areas. Ghallab said that before his resignation he was very close to discovering the location of the factory after he arrested "suspects associated with the factory".

Ghallab did not tell "South24" the reason for his resignation, but private sources reported that he was subjected to pressure and threats while chasing the Shabu factory in Wadi Hadramout. This prompted him to resign, according to the sources.

A factory for producing Shabu in Wadi Hadramout, South Yemen (South24) 

Shabu production in Hadramout was not limited to smuggling and internal trade, but also extended to an attempt to smuggle it to neighboring countries through Seyiun International Airport.

About this, Hamdi says: "The monitoring of Shabu began to be repeated at Seiyun airport about two years ago. More than three smuggling attempts were discovered at the airport." He pointed out that Shabu destination in Hadramout at that time "was for the purpose of smuggling it to neighboring countries, particularly Egypt."

According to Hamdi, "according to the seizures, cannabis is still in first place among all types. It is followed by Captagon tablets. At the moment, Shabu has begun to sweep the local market. There are fears that it will take first place soon."

The return of expatriates 

"Drugs are always governed by the law of supply and demand. The demand in Hadramout was created by those who were deported from neighboring countries especially the ones who were previously arrested in narcotic cases," Hamdi claimed.

He adds: "When the demand was found domestically, the spread became at the internal level instead of smuggling it from outside the country as before."

Despite the increased production and local consumption of shabu, the director of drug control in the Hadhramaut coast believes that "smuggling is still going on, while the security services at the airports have not caught any smuggling operations recently."

Turnout reasons

As for the reasons for drug users, especially young people, turning to shabu, Hamdi says, "one of the main reasons is that abusers believe that it gives them extraordinary sexual energy, in addition to other beliefs, such as psychological comfort and others."

He continued, "most of those who come to us about drug abuse cases and through what we see in the reality of our work, the new young people have not reached the stage of addiction, and we have not noticed serious complications or retroactive effects on them, and this explains to us the period of detention of the abuser. The period may sometimes reach to 6 months."

Hamdi considered Shabu to be "a new disaster for young people in this country burdened with disasters, and one of the biggest challenges they face so far."

Officers sell drugs

Speaking to "South24", security sources accused some officers, military commanders and soldiers in Hadramout of involvement in drug trafficking and its use. The sources said that they "abuse their positions to facilitate the process of promoting and earning from them."

On this, Colonel Hamdi said: "Unfortunately, according to the seizures, there is abuse by some officers and soldiers, and this is a fact that we must not deny, and they are, in the end, human beings." He pointed out that "they will be punished like other people."

Regarding the motives for this, Hamdi said that "Hadramout needed manpower at one time to control the security aspect. The recruitment at that time was according to quantity, not quality. Most likely, these users took advantage of this period to penetrate the security and military bodies."