x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Syrian denies planning to sell 700kg of Captagon pills

A man dubbed "The Professional" by Dubai Police has pleaded not guilty to the main charge brought against him over one of the emirate's biggest drug seizures.

Khalid al Kawari, the deputy director of the anti-narcotics section at Dubai Police, holds a bag of seized amphetamines.
Khalid al Kawari, the deputy director of the anti-narcotics section at Dubai Police, holds a bag of seized amphetamines.

DUBAI // A man dubbed "The Professional" by Dubai Police has pleaded guilty to two of the three charges brought against him in connection with one of the emirate's biggest drug seizures. However, the Syrian national, HA, appearing yesterday in the Criminal Court of First Instance, denied the main charge, possession with intent to sell 709kg of Captagon pills.

The 29-year-old man, known as The Professional because of his attention to detail, was arrested last November 11 after allegedly smuggling 4.2 million amphetamine pills into the country in 148 textile rolls through Jebel Ali Port and storing them in a warehouse in Al Qusais. He admitted to possession with intent to consume nine Diazepam pills and to consuming another psychotropic drug. Diazepam is the generic name for Valium.

Dubai's biggest seizure of amphetamines came after a three-week operation prompted by a tip-off from Saudi authorities. Prosecutors allege that HA single-handedly unloaded the textile rolls, stored them in a warehouse and then unpacked 4,199 plastic bags, each containing 1,000 pills, and stored them in boxes that were to be shipped to Saudi Arabia. They say he was in contact with a supplier in Syria who was due to finalise a deal with a buyer, but that the deal fell through. The defendant is suspected of conducting a similar operation in Dubai previously, but with a smaller amount of drugs.

He told prosecutors he took part in that deal because he owed the supplier 300,000 Syrian pounds (Dh23,700), according to court documents. He also claimed he used psychotropic drugs to treat a medical condition. The amphetamine pills seized in the Al Qusais raid were stamped with the Lexus logo and are comprised of fenethylline, the generic name for a prescription drug marketed under the brand name Captagon.

It is popular among recreational users in the Arab world. It also is used as a weight-loss aid and by people who want to remain awake. The court will reconvene on June 3. @Email:amustafa@thenational.ae