x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Men 'caught with 50kg of heroin at a Dubai vegetable market'

Four men are facing charges of trafficking in 50Kg of heroin hidden in 657 plastic bags inside boxes of oranges.

DUBAI // Four men were watched by police as they tried to smuggle more than 50kg of heroin out of the Fruit and Vegetable Market in Al Aweer in boxes of oranges, a court heard today.

Dubai Police's anti-narcotics department had been tipped off about the men's activities and put the market under surveillance on April 4 this year.

Prosecutors said JZ, 27, AS, 30, and MH, a 40-year-old painter, drove together in a Mazda car to the market where they met  a fourth man, AJ, a 22-year-old driver.

"They spoke for a while and then all of them walked towards a container," testified a major with the Dubai Police.

He said that a pick-up truck pulled up next to the container and that AJ then asked some workers to move boxes of oranges from the container to the vehicle.

Prosecutors said that five pick-up trucks in total were rented by the men to carry the boxes of oranges and that these were all searched after police arrested the men at 9pm the same day.

Upon inspection, the boxes were each found to contain two plastic bags of heroin hidden in the bottom.

Police said JZ confessed to trafficking the drug and said he was going to deliver it to a Nigerian man. He allegedly said that a Pakistani woman was directing the smuggling operation from her home country and called him two weeks earlier to inform him about the arrival date of the drug consignment.

JZ was said to have met with another Nigerian man who gave him money to rent a warehouse to store the boxes.

The four men, who are all from Pakistan, denied charges of possession, trafficking and intent to supply others with drugs at the Dubai Criminal Court. The case was adjourned to September 3.

salamir@thenational.ae