Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 27 May 2019

Hollow bananas and heroin chocolates: Dubai Police help bust elaborate drug smuggling attempts

Narcotics were hidden in suitcase linings, chocolate wrappers and empty dictionaries

Dubai Police helped to thwart an international smuggling gang that used elaborate techniques to take drugs across borders.

From discovering the secrets of hidden compartments in suitcases and hollowed-out bananas, law enforcement managed to seize two tonnes of drugs in a number of European countries including Denmark, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy, Spain and Austria.

Dubai Police discovered the operation in May 2016, including identifying suspects in Europe, despite the fact the drugs are not thought to have passed through the emirate.

Officers met with their counterparts in Germany and worked with European forces.

A joint operation led to 80 suspects across Europe being arrested.

Altogether, law enforcement agencies managed to seize two tonnes of drugs from seven European countries, including Denmark, Holland, Switzerland, Italy, Spain and Austria.
Dubai Police have helped to thwart an attempt to smuggle two tonnes of different types of drugs in eight European countries. Courtesy Dubai Police

Police would not reveal how they learned of the smugglers but officers flew to Europe to help the authorities there over the course of some months.

“A group of Dubai Police officers made field visits to European countries, where they closely monitored criminal activities by drug smugglers and traffickers," said Major General Khalil Al Mansouri, Dubai Police assistant commander-in-chief for criminal investigation,

"Dubai Police plays a significant role in combating drug-related crimes and this crime is an international one. Our partners in countries across the world cooperated to reveal the identity of those criminals.”

Colonel Eid Mohammed Thani Hareb, head of the anti-narcotics at Dubai Police, said that "international cooperation between Dubai Police and other forces in other countries, including Germany, led to this bust".

Norbert Drude, president of the Zollkriminalamt ZKA, Germany's customs investigations agency, said: "

Earlier this year, Dubai Police arrested five men in connection with the shipping of more than 1.9 tonnes of narcotics with an estimated street value of AUS$810 million (Dh2.4 billion) destined for the streets of Australia.

One of those arrested was Koder Jomaa, the owner of The Fit Kitchen, a healthy-eating restaurant in Jumeirah Lakes Towers.

The other men arrested in the UAE have been named in Australia as Mustapha Dib, Stephen Elmir and brothers Michael and Fadi Ibrahim, who were the subject of a TV crime series in Sydney called Underbelly.

The year-long pursuit was hailed a success by police, and an example of how effective cross-border partnerships can be in the fight against international crime.

Updated: November 13, 2017 05:57 PM