x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Poppy seeds meant as spices for cooking, accused tells Dubai court

The man was detained at Dubai International Airport for being in possession of 103 grams of poppy seeds.

DUBAI // A man accused of smuggling poppy seeds told a court he thought they were spices to cook with.

Indian SA, 45, was detained at Dubai International Airport on May 25 and found with 103 grams of the seeds.

He said he bought a bag of spices without knowing they contained poppy seeds.

"I bought garam masala and biryani spices," the defendant told the court through a translator.

"I didn't know they were poppy seeds. I bought spices and thought they were spices unknowing about their true nature."

He denied a charge of smuggling and possessing drugs at Dubai Criminal Court.

A police officer said the Indian had admitted to knowing they were poppy seeds.

"I searched his luggage and found a plastic bag containing the seeds. I asked him about their nature and he said they were poppy seeds and that he brought them to cook with them," said Emirati policewoman AM, 30.

Prosecutors said the seeds were ready to be planted and said the defendant had confessed to bringing them to the UAE for purposes of consumption.

A verdict is expected on September 24.

salamir@thenational.ae