x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Life sentences for men caught with two barrels of hashish in Sharjah

Police were tipped off after one of the barrels was knocked over on the dock, revealing its contents.

DUBAI // Two men charged with possessing 25 kilograms of hashish have been sentenced to life in prison.

The Emirati men were caught after a pedestrian bumped into one of two barrels unloaded on a dock in Sharjah's Khalid Port last August.

"When the barrel fell down and its cover opened, a strong smell of hashish spread in the air," said MH, a colonel lieutenant with the Dubai police.

The barrel was righted and left in place, so police could set up surveillance.

The first accused, FJ, 46, was later seen loading both barrels into his car. Anti-narcotics officers gave chase but lost him in traffic.

Two hours later, police discovered both barrels had been delivered to the second accused, HS, 62.

Police kept HS under surveillance until September 5, when he was seen digging up the drugs in the desert to sell to a man identified as SA, who has been referred to an Abu Dhabi court for prosecution.

The following day, HS was arrested and footprints recovered in the desert were matched to his shoes.

FJ was later arrested and told a lieutenant at the Dubai Police's Anti-narcotics department he got involved in drug dealing because he needed the money.

"He told me a man in Pakistan called him and told him about the hashish in the barrels and he then picked them up and delivered the drugs then threw away the empty barrels," said the lieutenant.

FJ also said he had been promised a large sum of money for delivering the drugs to HS, who had known for a long time.

Police also said HS had been convicted in a similar case in Saudi Arabia.

A life sentence in the UAE is equivalent to 25 years. The verdict remains subject to appeal within 15 days.

salamir@thenational.ae