x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Dh2.5m worth of opium seized by police

The drugs haul is the biggest discovered by police in the UAE in 10 years.

DUBAI // Police have seized 51 kilograms of opium worth Dh2.5 million - the biggest haul of the drug in the UAE in a decade.

Three men have been arrested in connection with the drug, which officers said was intended for sale in the UAE and surrounding region.

Two suspects were detained during a sting operation in Dubai on March 24.

Maj Gen Abdul Al Jaleel Al Mahdi, head of the anti-drugs department, said officers received a tip-off that two men were looking to sell a large amount of opium.

"Undercover officers met with the two men at a shopping mall on March 23 to decide on the price and time for delivery," he said.

Police then agreed to meet the suspects, HB, 39, from Pakistan, and AM, 43, from Somalia, the next day near the bowling centre at Al Mamzar.

The area was put under surveillance. Two men delivered the drugs and received money at the undercover officers' car before police surrounded them.

"The two suspects tried to run from the scene but police caught them after a small struggle," said Maj Gen Al Mahdi.

Two officers were slightly injured when they pulled the two men back but no weapons were used.

"We have been suspicious of HB's activity for a while," said Maj Gen Al Mahdi. "We have had information that he is an active drug dealer and owns several boats, which he uses to smuggle drugs. The second suspect was the broker in the case."

The drugs were allegedly smuggled into the country by sea with the help of a third suspect, WM, 41, from Pakistan.

"WM said that he was not aware of the exact type of drugs, but was only told by HB that he needed to transfer unlicensed medicine into the UAE," said Maj Gen Al Mahdi.

WM allegedly met four people out at sea and picked up the drugs in bags, which he delivered to HB.

He was arrested on his boat in Sharjah after being identified to police by the other suspects.

The case has been referred to the public prosecution.

wissa@thenational.ae