DUBAI // A passenger attempted to smuggle 15,000 pills through Dubai International Airport this week, customs officials said yesterday.
The passenger, who was from an Asian country, was found with 44kg of controlled drugs.
Customs inspectors arrested the man after he approached the inspection area acting strangely.
"After inspectors searched his personal luggage manually, they found him hiding the tablets in a suitcase,"said Ali Al Meghawi, the director of airport operations at Dubai Customs.
"The pills cannot be for personal use because of their large quantity and were brought in for commercial purposes.
"The medicine is listed under the restricted medicine category and is prohibited to be exchanged or taken unless by medical prescription due to its danger and potential health threat, which might cause death if used without medical supervision," Mr al Meghawi added.
The Ministry of Health has listed 374 controlled narcotics that can be only be used with a prescription. Anyone found using them illegally may be liable for trafficking charges in Dubai and could earn a minimum one-year jail sentence.
A source from the Ministry of Health said controlled drugs were only dispensed by government pharmacies with strict precautions.
"Controlled drugs may originate from morphine-based formulas or opiates and are highly addictive and can cause psychological disturbances. Therefore we control their distribution and monitor their consumption," the source said.
"Many visitors who arrive in the country are unaware. My advice is to always keep no more than a three-month supply with a prescription and a medical report on hand."
The Drug Control Department oversees all activities and regulates issues concerning narcotic medications in the UAE.