x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

The six men were found in possession of 20 kilograms of hashish and an unspecified amount of heroin, opium, methamphetamines and narcotic pills.

A gang of suspected drug traffickers have been arrested by Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah police.

The six men were found in possession of 20 kilograms of hashish and an unspecified amount of heroin, opium, methamphetamines and narcotic pills.

Operation Ras Al Khor took place over the last two days of August, shortly after Dubai Police received a tip-off that two GCC nationals were trafficking and using narcotics.

Police raided a house in Al Tawar where they found a 28-year-old government employee and an unemployed 34-year-old in possession of 3.82kg of hashish, methamphetamines, opium and 15,000 pills. Both men are in custody.

In the course of the investigation, police identified three other Asian men – a sailor, 29, an unemployed resident of RAK, 25, and a driver, 24, who had no form of identification – believed to be working alongside the first two.

The three were caught in a sting operation in the Ras Al Khor industrial area and were found to have 16.34kg of hashish, as well as heroin, opium and 33,000 pills.

A fourth Asian man, 25, unemployed and living in RAK, was also apprehended by RAK Police.

One member of the gang is still at large. Senior police officials confirmed that they have identified him.

“He is Emirati, we know who he is and he will be apprehended soon,” said Maj Gen Abdul Jalil Al Asmawi, head of the Anti-narcotics Department at Dubai Police.

The two GCC nationals have been charged with possession of narcotics with intent to distribute. The sailor has been charged with using drugs and bringing them into the UAE with intent to distribute.

The other two Asian men were charged with possession of narcotics with intent to use and distribute.

Based on testimony from the rest of the gang, the men arrested in RAK has been charged with possession of narcotics with intent to distribute.

Gen Al Asmawi called on parents to be vigilant of their children’s behaviour, as most cases of addiction and trafficking stem from broken families.

“Some parents don’t see their sons for days. They could be taking drugs and nobody even notices,” he said.

“If parents don’t pick up the signs, other members of the household could be exposed to drugs as well.”

The anti-narcotics department is planning a national campaign to combat drug use. It will target schools, universities and parents.

“The cases of drug use and trafficking are found in intermediate and secondary schools and universities,” said Gen Al Asmawi.

He said the most prominent cases involve the use of tramadol pills.

“It is very easy to get tramadol and that’s a big problem. It is used as a prescription drug for medical treatment, so some people get it by stealing it from patients,” he said.

“Our best defence comes from the family. If there is a close and strong family bond, it is very difficult for dealers to attract them. But if they have problems at home or they come from a broken family, it is more likely for some children to resort drug use.”

Gen Al Asmawi said there was no production of narcotics in the UAE and that drugs arrived here from other countries.

malkhan@thenational.ae