UN anti-drugs agency lauds record heroin seizure in the Gulf

20 August 2008

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has hailed the efforts of the authorities in the United Arab Emirates in seizing 202 kilograms of heroin, worth some $11 million, in what is being called the largest-ever heroin bust in the Arab world.

The police also arrested 19 Afghans in last week’s seizure, which took place in the Emirate of Sharjah, where the suspects ran a fruit and vegetable business as a cover.

UNODC’s Representative for the Middle East and North Africa, Mohamed Abdul-Aziz, called the seizure “a spectacular success for the law enforcement authorities.”

The drugs were smuggled in modified fuel tanks of trucks imported into the UAE, and the suspects were making arrangements to ship the drugs for sale outside the country.

The 19 were arrested in separate raids by the Sharjah and Dubai Police anti-narcotic departments, which were acting off a tip that the men were packaging, processing and stockpiling drugs in their warehouses and dealing on a massive scale.

“Devious as the traffickers were, the police were always one step ahead. I congratulate the Sharjah and Dubai police for their cooperation, daring and professionalism,” said Mr. Abdul-Aziz.

UNODC has been offering technical assistance to Dubai police in the field of drug control and drug law enforcement since 2001, as well as training some of Dubai’s officers in advanced drug law enforcement surveillance and intelligence-led policing.

The training has improved their search techniques, data analysis, covert operations, and intelligence gathering. “Obviously the training is paying off,” said Mr. Abdul-Aziz.


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