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Video: Drugs worth Dh280 million seized in UAE drug bust, 16 expats arrested

They tried to smuggle the drugs in vehicle spare parts via the sea: Dubai Police

The Dubai Police have seized 365kg of drugs worth Dh280 million, in the biggest drug haul in the UAE. It arrested 16 Asian suspects of two international gangs who used innovative and sophisticated methods to smuggle the drugs in spare parts of cars via the sea.

According to the police, the drug haul included 268kg of heroin, 96kg of crystal meth and 1kg of hashish.

Major General Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri, commander-in-chief of the Dubai Police, said on Monday that the anti-narcotics teams of the Dubai Police had monitored the gang members for three months and put them under surveillance 24X7 before nabbing them.

He added that 'Operation Stalker' to trap the drug smugglers was successful as it was executed with precise and accurate planning. The police chief said that the anti-drug officers of the Dubai Police acted with seamless efficiency and used artificial intelligence (AI) which helped them arrest the gangs active in trafficking and promotion of drugs.

Major General Khalil Ibrahim Al Mansouri, assistant general commander of the Dubai Police for Operations, said that the anti-narcotics department of the Dubai Police faced great challenges in 'Operation Stalker', since the gangs had adopted sophisticated techniques to hide the drugs and used secret codes to communicate.

However, their efforts were foiled by the Dubai Police using the latest technology and AI to track the whereabouts of the suspects and pouncing on the hidden drugs, he pointed out.

Stalker 001

Colonel Khalid bin Muwaiza, deputy director of the General Department of Anti-Narcotics, explained that the operation was divided at the execution level into two parts: Stalker 001 and Stalker 002. He said that in the initial stages, Stalker 001 called for increased efforts to search, investigate and monitor the gang members for 24 hours a day for more than three months following key tip-off about the racket.

He said that after analysing the information, it was found that all the gang members, except one, belonged to a particular Asian nationality. The gang was divided into two groups. They carried out their criminal acts with virtual names and took up jobs such as that of cleaners, employees of private companies, maintenance workers et al. The gang's mastermind was a seasoned drug trafficker, who lived in the country and worked as a cleaner, and he was in constant coordination with a drug dealer in his home country, he pointed out.

The part one of the operation lasted about 15 days. On January 26, the anti-narcotics officers arrested members of the first gang near their residence in Sharjah while they were receiving drugs from other suspects. The police seized a bag containing 4.2kg of heroin from them.

 

The police also arrested another group, in coordination with the drug control authorities of the Sharjah Police, in front of the building where they stayed. Another gang member was arrested at Sharjah International Airport while he was trying to escape to his country.

The total weight of the seized drugs in Stalker 001 was 118kg, including  47kg of heroin and 71kg of crystal meth. The drug traffickers smuggled the drugs into the UAE and kept them in Sharjah and Ajman, while hiding them using sophisticated methods making the narcotics difficult to detect.

Stalker 002

Colonel Khalid bin Muwaiza said the second phase of the operation, Stalker 002, was characterised by optimal use of police intuition. The policemen were  able  to reach places of concealment, and to decode the messages of the perpetrators before they could plan to escape.

He said that police investigations showed that none of the Asian suspects carried identity papers and were part of an international ring.

Following close and constant monitoring of the movement of the accused, a number of gang members were caught in a car repair shop and some were nabbed near their places of residence.

During the inspection of workshops, warehouses and houses of gang members, the police found drugs and seized them. The police discovered huge quantities of crystal meth and hashish in one of the areas in the emirate of Umm Al Quwain, which was buried by a gang member.

He said that a total of 247kg of drugs were seized, including 211kg of heroin, 1kg of hashish and crystal meth. The police also seized from the possession of the gang members Dh39,000 and $7,400, while confiscating two cars that contained large quantities of drugs.

Major General Al Marri praised the "distinguished and professional" role played by the anti-narcotics team in the operation and its cooperation and coordination with other authorities concerned in combating drug smuggling. He also lauded the participation of the Sharjah, Ajman and Umm Al Quwain counterparts in the operation.

The police chief appreciated the sincere efforts of Brigadier Eid Mohammed Thani Hareb, director of the General Department of Anti-Narcotics, and the department's keenness to achieve the strategic goals of the Dubai Police in checking crime and making the country drug-free.

Major General Al Mansouri said that efforts exerted to bust the racket would not have been possible without the efforts of the Integrated Task Force established by the Dubai Police, which has made a quantum leap in drug control by harnessing the latest technologies of AI and information technology.

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