Joint UAE, Saudi, Omani police operations break Gulf drug smuggling networks

ABU DHABI — Joint efforts between drug control authorities in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Oman have resulted in the confiscation of 158 kilogrammes of cannabis resin, or hashish, 2,700,000 “Captagon” pills, and the arrest of 12 suspected drug smugglers and traffickers in four undercover operations conducted during the first half of 2017.

Colonel Saeed Abdullah Al Suwaidi, Director-General of the Anti-Narcotics Federal Directorate and General Deputy Chairman of the Anti-Narcotics Council, said that the Supreme Command has supported local, regional and international efforts to combat drugs. He also highlighted the directives of H.H. Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, who emphasised the necessity of actively pursuing drug smugglers and dealers targeting the Arabian Gulf countries, and reducing the spread of substance abuse that damages Gulf, Arab and international countries, by preventing the smuggling of drugs and other controlled substances.

Al Suwaidi expressed the appreciation of the UAE Ministry of Interior to the anti-narcotics units in Saudi Arabia and Oman while praising their high standards of performance and their immediate and rapid cooperation, which ensured the success of these operations. He also acknowledged their hosting of the UAE’s field operations teams, which contributed to the effective coordination of these operations.

He added that conducting undercover operations against the smuggling of narcotics and psychotropic substances is a commitment to the clauses of the 1988 “United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances,” and is under the framework of Federal Law No. 39 of 2006 on the legal cooperation against crime on an international level.

Colonel Taher Ghareeb Al Dhaheri, Director of the Drug Control Department of the Abu Dhabi Police, said that strengthening and diversifying the sources of security information resulted in the effective collection of undercover intelligence, which confirmed the involvement of a network of drug smugglers and dealers in the Gulf region. After collecting intelligence about this network, it became apparent that the suspects intended to smuggle large amounts of hashish, weighing around 50kg, from Yemen to the UAE through Oman, he added.

He explained that because of cooperation by Omani police authorities, the operations team managed to arrest the main suspect in a secret raid. The suspect resisted the police by trying to escape but was captured. A gun was found in his possession, along with 31 bullets, as well as AED50,000 as a payment to the smuggler. The suspect will be presented to the courts for trial and sentencing, according to the country’s anti-narcotics and psychotropic substances law, he continued.

In two other operations, Colonel Al Dhaheri mentioned that other undercover intelligence, which came to the department, exposed another criminal network in one of the Arab countries that smuggle hashish and Captagon to Saudi Arabia through the UAE. The information also revealed that this network holds a significant amount of drugs in the country and is planning to transport them to Saudi Arabia by land. In light of this information, their shipment of narcotics was targeted and tracked until it crossed the UAE’s land borders heading to Saudi Arabia, under the surveillance of anti-narcotics agents in Saudi Arabia, until their efforts resulted in the arrest of those responsible for smuggling the drugs, and their eventual court trial and sentencing, he added.

In the details of the fourth operation, Lieutenant Colonel Majid Sultan Al Asm, Deputy Director of the Anti-Narcotics Department of the Sharjah Police, said that undercover intelligence they received led them to another criminal network residing in one of the Arab countries, which intended to smuggle AED2.656 million-worth of Captagon pills to Saudi Arabia through the UAE.

Due to the desire of the Police Command to strengthen cooperation in combatting drugs between anti-narcotics units, both inside and outside the country, with the aim of apprehending all parts of the criminal network. After their Saudi counterparts welcomed them to conduct the undercover operations, the operations team succeeded in arresting the members of the criminal network which was tasked to receive and sell drugs in Saudi Arabia.

Source: Emirates News Agency