x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Suspect swallowed 45 heroin capsules for flight, police say

A man who allegedly swallowed 45 capsules of heroin in an attempt to smuggle them into the country is arrested at Dubai International Airport.

DUBAI // A man who allegedly swallowed 45 capsules of heroin in an attempt to smuggle them into the country was arrested yesterday by customs inspectors who became suspicious of his nervous manner. A customs official said the ingested capsules contained 516 grams of pure heroin. Inspectors were alerted by his body language as he made his way through Dubai International Airport's Terminal 1.

Ali al Mughawi, director of the Passengers Operations Department at Dubai Customs, said inspectors began to monitor the passenger after he was spotted acting nervously around the inspection point. "Upon arrival to the carousel, his luggage was examined through the X-ray detector and nothing suspicious appeared. "However, the passenger's nervous behaviour increased inspectors' doubts; thus he was accompanied to the body scan machine and searched," Mr Al Mughawi said in a statement.

"Odd bodies that looked like capsules were spotted in the passenger's guts." When confronted, he broke down and burst into tears as he confessed that there are 45 capsules of pure heroin inside his body. Investigators at the Passengers Investigations Department at Dubai Customs interrogated him, and he admitted to bringing the narcotics to hand them to others. The man was transferred to the Anti-Narcotics Department at the Dubai Police General Department where further action will be taken against him.

According to Mr al Mughawi, customs officers observe and inspect passengers through a "three point scientific system". Roaming officers called "rovers" are tasked with observing passengers from their moment of arrival at the airport terminals. "The rovers study the body language, impressions and actions and accordingly they profile suspicious individuals," he said. "Specific checks and observations are made on people who arrive from drug producing or trading destinations."

When a rover suspects a person, his actions are then observed and body language studied until he picks up his luggage. "People's body language changes when they pick up their luggage," Mr al Mughawi said. At this point if a suspect's body language changes, the rover alerts the customs inspectors at the inspection points to flag the person down. "When a search is performed we use some of the world's most technologically advanced equipment to scan and verify contrabands."

Mr al Mughawi said Dubai Customs were now fully aware of the various techniques smugglers use to smuggle drugs. "We have had over 10 arrests this year alone of smugglers trying to bring in drugs," he added. amustafa@thenational.ae