x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Men deny charges in Dh6m drug bust

Suspected importer and four accomplices arrested in May

DUBAI // A Pakistani and four Nigerians have denied trying to smuggle 21 kilos of heroin into the country in crates of Afghan oranges. The drugs, with an estimated street value of Dh6 million (US$1.6m), were found in 400 plastic bags hidden in a consignment of 101 crates of the fruit, police said. Their discovery was the result of a 45-day investigation by the Dubai Police anti-narcotics department, following a tip that the drugs were due to arrive from Port Rashid, Pakistan.

Police arrested a Pakistani man, identified as SA, 33, who said he was paid 100,000 Pakistani rupees (Dh4,755) for every kilo of heroin he got into the country. He said he had succeeded in bringing in a previous shipment by the same method. The cache of drugs was to be delivered to a group of African buyers. Police told SA to contact the Africans and tell them the drugs were ready for collection. The four Nigerians, AJ, 33, OT, 29, AG, 35 and NO, 31, were arrested when they arrived in a van to take delivery. Police announced the bust in May, saying the drugs were destined for Europe. They said the arrested men were from a Pakistani gang and an African gang, which was to ship them.

The case, heard at the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance, was adjourned until early next month. hbathish@thenational.ae