x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

Drugs sting nets three

A Briton and two Africans face a potential life sentence after police say they found four kilograms of cocaine in their vehicle.

Two African men and a Briton have been arrested by Dubai police on suspicion of drug dealing. The men, identified as BD, 52, a tourist from Benin, SA, 33, a Dubai resident from Ghana, and GW, 49, from the UK, were arrested at 6.30pm on Sunday after they tried to sell four kilograms of cocaine to an undercover police officer. "A police sting operation was set up to catch the drug dealers and an undercover CID officer lured the suspects into thinking that they were to meet to sell him the drugs at a car park next to a mall in Muraqabat," said a CID spokesman.

"They arrived together and BD was driving the vehicle. As the undercover officer arrived in his car, they suddenly became suspicious and tried to drive off the scene." Police caught the suspects immediately. "The car was searched and four kilograms of cocaine was found in the car's trunk." The three men were taken in for questioning and referred to the public prosecution. If found guilty, they face a minimum penalty of 10 years in prison to a maximum life sentence.

Last month, The National reported that Dubai police have seized more than 70kg of drugs, worth about Dh35 million (US$9.5m), in the past five months. Since January, police have arrested 575 people for drug offences, up from 433 during the same period last year. "The quantity of drugs seized was much larger than the number of addicts, and the drugs found are not for residents or locals," Major Gen Khamis Mattar al Mazina, the acting chief of Dubai police, said last month. "Dubai is a very important connecting point in the region and most of the drugs make their way to other countries."

Police said 195 Emirati drug addicts - all under the age of 25 - have been admitted to drug rehabilitation centres in Dubai. @Email:rabubaker@thenational.ae