x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Jail term upheld for heroin smugglers

Two men who hid more than Dh4m worth of heroin in cartons of oranges have their jail terms upheld by the court of appeal.

DUBAI // Two men who hid more than Dh4 million worth of heroin in cartons of oranges to smuggle it into the UAE today had their 10-year jail terms upheld by the Court of Appeal.

The court also upheld the Dh50,000 fines handed to both KO, a 34-year-old Nigerian, and his compatriot MS, 32, by the Criminal Court.

Police arrested the pair in March as part of Operation Orange Harvest, in which officers found 58kg of the drug in a shipment of 2,565 orange cartons that arrived in Jebel Ali Port from Afghanistan via Pakistan last year.

The drug shipment had been stored in a warehouse at the Dubai Fruit and Vegetable market after arriving at the port and was thought to be heading on to Africa and ultimately Europe for mass consumption.

MAH, a Bangladeshi salesman, said he was offered a commission in return for finding a warehouse that could store a large shipment of oranges. The two men claimed the shipment was for them. He said he found a warehouse where they stored 1,005 boxes. They told him they had sold the rest.

A few days later police came and asked about the orange boxes. "There were 700 boxes remaining in the warehouse and I gave them to police," he added.

When the pair appeared before the Criminal Court, KO admitted possessing 16.1kg of heroine but denied a trafficking charge while MS denied charges of possessing and trafficking 29.8Kg of heroine. Both were found guilty.

A third man, MA, a 36-year-old from Pakistan, was cleared of possession and trafficking of 9.8kg.

The two men will be deported following their prison terms.