x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Drug smuggler used his sons as 'goodwill'

Father offered to send sons on drug smuggling ship as a way of calming nervous captain, police said.

SHARJAH // A gang boss used his two sons aged 11 and 14 as goodwill pawns in an operation to smuggle Dh20 million worth of hashish into the UAE, police said yesterday.

The boys were among 14 people arrested in a raid on the Khor Fakkan deep-sea terminal in Sharjah. Their father remains at large in east Asia, said Col Jihad Sahoo, an officer with the Sharjah police narcotics department.

Police described the seizure of more than 2,500 kilograms of hashish as their biggest drug haul in 20 years.

"Through our investigation we found that the captain of the ship had refused to transport the drugs for fear of responsibility," Col Sahoo said. The gang leader offered to let his sons, aged 11 and 14, and his brother travel with the illicit cargo as a gesture of confidence that he would assist in the event of any trouble, Col Sahoo said.

The gang was targeting the Gulf region as a market for its products and had been in the drug trade for some time, he said.

"They were trying to smuggle the drugs through their old shipping route in Khor Fakkan, thinking that we had given up monitoring it, but they got it wrong," Col Sahoo said.

Security sources alerted Sharjah police about the presence of an international gang with a large quantity of drugs hidden aboard a boat within UAE waters off the emirate's coast. A police team posing as buyers carried out a sting operation and the ship was raided.

The UAE has a zero-tolerance policy on drug sales and usage.

ykakande@thenational.ae