x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Police seize half tonne of hashish hidden in lorry

Drugs believed to have originated in Pakistan or Afghanistan, and were heading for an unspecified GCC country, officers say.

Major Gen Abdel Jalil Mahdi, left, the director of Dubai Police's anti-narcotics department, announces the massive seizure of hashish yesterday. The haul was hidden in a lorry travelling to the UAE from Oman. Amy Leang / The National
Major Gen Abdel Jalil Mahdi, left, the director of Dubai Police's anti-narcotics department, announces the massive seizure of hashish yesterday. The haul was hidden in a lorry travelling to the UAE from Oman. Amy Leang / The National

DUBAI // Police have seized almost half a tonne of hashish which was smuggled into the country hidden in a lorry. The vast haul, weighing 457kg, was concealed in a lorry travelling into the UAE from Oman, Dubai Police said yesterday. The drugs are believed to have originated in Pakistan or Afghanistan, and were heading for an unspecified GCC country, police said. The vehicle entered the UAE on June 8, and officers tracked it over the following days.

It was stopped on Emirates Road on June 12, when police discovered 11 sacks of cannabis inside the trailer. Three suitcases filled with the drug were also found in the cabin behind the driver's seat. Four people were arrested. A search is under way for two other suspects believed to have held key roles in the operation. Major Gen Khamis Mattar al Mezaina, the deputy chief of Dubai Police, said one of the missing suspects had fled to an Arab nation, and the other to a GCC state. Both are being pursued by Interpol.

"This large haul was not intended to be distributed in the Emirates," said Gen al Mezaina. "The UAE does not have a consumer market for such a large quantity." Maj Gen Abdel Jalil Mahdi, the director of the police anti-narcotics department, said the shipment originated in Pakistan or Afghanistan. "The drugs were shipped to an Arab country and from there were smuggled through another before reaching Dubai," he said.

Police in Dubai were tipped off by Omani authorities and surveillance was launched at all border crossings. "Investigations and close surveillance led us to believe the apprehended truck was the one carrying the drugs," Maj Gen Mahdi said. "We tracked the driver at all his stops and investigated his acquaintances, revealing that he was due to deliver the narcotics to another driver who was going to transport it to a neighbouring country."

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