x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Dubai customs foil heroin smuggling operation

A heroin smuggling operation involving four countries has been foiled by Dubai Customs.

Dubai inspectors helped foil an attempt to smuggle 10 kilograms of heroin through four countries, customs officials said yesterday.

In an operation dubbed 'Heroin Flamingo' customs inspectors followed an Italian smuggler as he moved the drug from Peshawar to Rome, via Dubai and Zurich.

Mr Ali Al Meghawi, the director of airport operations at Dubai Customs, said officials at Dubai International Airport's Terminal One became suspicious when two pieces of luggage arriving from Peshawar went unclaimed.

"The bags were closely monitored and X-rayed and we found an unusual unevenness in their inside pockets as well as a distinguishing heroin-like odour stemming from them," he said.

He said inspectors checked the passenger information on the bags and tracked them to an Italian passenger.

However, when the passenger arrived, he went straight to the transit lounge and purchased a new ticket to Zurich, before requesting his luggage be boarded on the new flight.

The inspectors then informed the Swiss authorities of their suspicions.

Swiss officials then watched the man carried out a similar process in Zurich, where he purchased another ticket to Rome.

After arriving in Rome he passed through passport control and collected his luggage. He was then arrested by Italian officials as he handed the two bags to another man waiting for him at the airport.

Italian authorities said the bags contained 10kg of pure heroin hidden in secret pockets.

Two other Italian men are being questioned by police in Rome.