According to the Emirates News Agency, UAE authorities seized half a ton of cocaine worth more than $136 million, Dubai police said on Sunday, in one of the biggest drug busts in the Gulf country. The Dubai Police has recently thwarted a smuggling attempt of 500 kilograms of pure cocaine into the country for selling and promoting purposes, in an operation codenamed ‘Scorpion’. The narcotics, worth more than AED 500 million (US$136m), were well-hidden within the structure of a cargo container.
According to Dubai Police, the operation is the region’s largest drug seizure, as it resulted in the arrest of a Middle Eastern gang member operating as an intermediary inside the country for an international drug syndicate and the seizure of drugs he possessed.
Brigadier Eid Mohammed Thani Hareb, Director of Anti-Narcotics Department at Dubai Police, said they had placed the suspect under close surveillance round the clock before they raided his place and made the arrest.
“We received a security tip on an international drug syndicate attempting to smuggle a huge amount of pure cocaine hidden in a cargo container into a seaport with the assistance of a Middle Eastern accomplice in the emirate,” Brig. Hareb revealed.
“An investigating team was immediately formed to verify and respond to the security tip” they monitored the suspect’s movements until he received the expected narcotics shipment. Once the shipment arrived, the suspect transported the illegal drugs to another emirate and stored them in a warehouse with the aim of selling and promoting the harmful toxins, Brig. Hareb added.
Colonel Khalid bin Muwaiza, Deputy Director of the General Department of Anti-Narcotics, revealed the raid’s details and explained that the suspect had rented an SUV and bought angle grinders and other cutting tools to unload the container.
“At the zero hours, our officers raided the warehouse, caught the man red-handed, and seized the narcotics,” Col. bin Muwaiza added.
He confirmed that the suspect, who has a criminal record in his country, has confessed to the crime and was referred to the Public Prosecution for further legal action.
The United Arab Emirates, made up of seven emirates including Dubai, has a zero-tolerance policy towards drug possession. Drug smugglers face possible death sentences in the UAE but in practice, executions are rare.