x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Four arrested in Sharjah's 'biggest drugs bust to date'

Arrest 'a major blow to regional drug-smuggling operations' says police chief, as Saudi police round up alleged accomplices.

SHARJAH // Four Arab men have been arrested in an alleged plot to smuggle 100 kilogrammes of hashish into Saudi Arabia.

Police are calling it Sharjah's biggest drug seizure this year.

Authorities said they put MA, whom they identified as a GCC national, under surveillance after learning he was allegedly involved in drug trafficking.

They found two other men working in the transportation sector who often crossed regional borders were working with him. The men, and another suspect in Saudi Arabia, have all been detained.

"The two accomplices were using their business to transport drugs to a client in Saudi Arabia who was also a big drug trafficker," said Major Gen Humaid Mohammed al Hudaidi, the Sharjah police director general.

"We established their UAE home and MA and another accomplice, AA, were arrested at home in possession of 100kg of hashish."

Sharjah police passed the information to officials in Saudi Arabia, where the client and another dealer have been taken into custody, Major Gen al Hudaidi said.

He said MA and AA have confessed and their case has been referred to public prosecutors.

Major Gen al Hudaidi said the arrest was a major blow to regional drug-smuggling operations, as the group was believed to be among the most active in the GCC.

He said it was regrettable that GCC nationals have become more involved in drug trafficking and consumption.

"Drugs claimed 17 lives in our country last year and 16 of these were UAE nationals," he said. "It's very unfortunate that gangs are mostly targeting GCC youths and corrupting them with drugs."

In 2008, Sharjah authorities seized 202kg of heroin, worth Dh40 million, one of the biggest drugs hauls in the Middle East.

ykakande@thenational.ae