x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Opium seized in motorbike parts

Drug shipment came from Africa and was being sent to Asia.

Customs officers in Dubai found three kilograms of opium stuffed inside the seat compartment of a motorcycle, in a shipment of spare parts which had arrived from an African location en route to Asia. Courtesy Dubai Customs
Customs officers in Dubai found three kilograms of opium stuffed inside the seat compartment of a motorcycle, in a shipment of spare parts which had arrived from an African location en route to Asia. Courtesy Dubai Customs

DUBAI // Three kilograms of opium were found hidden in a parcel of motorcycle spares bound for Asia, customs officials said yesterday.

They said the parcel was intercepted in Dubai during a standard inspection of packages in transit.

"The narcotics were subtly stuffed inside a motorcycle seat as part of a postal parcel transiting from an African country and heading to an Asian country," said Omar Ahmed al Muhairi, the senior manager of air cargo operations at Dubai Customs.

"Customs inspectors at Dubai Cargo Village seized the drugs … after detecting an unusual lumpiness in the motorcycle seat.

"When manually inspected, the officer found two meticulously sealed reels with opium inside".

According to Mr al Muhairi, the inspectors then tested the contents at the Dubai Customs Mobile Lab, which is equipped to detect narcotics and radioactive substances.

Test results confirmed that the contraband was opium.

The drugs have been transferred to the Dubai Police Anti-Narcotics Department.

"I commend the inspector's vigilance in discovering the narcotics as well as the collective efforts of the customs inspection cadre at Dubai Customs in maintaining the emirate's status as a safe hub for international trade," said Mr al Muhairi.

"Customs efforts are well received by Interpol, the World Customs Organisation and World Trade Organisation."

Mr al Muhairi said, the Air Cargo Operations Department discovered 73 illegal drug shipments last year.

Of these, 39 were at the Post Inspection Centre and the other 34 at Dubai Cargo Village.

Past inspections had foiled shipments of hashish, opium, heroin, cocaine and crystal meth among other drugs, he said.

Smuggling techniques that officials have detected and foiled in that period have included hiding the drugs in shipments of children's clothing and accessories, in wooden toys and in household appliances.

amustafa@thenational.ae