x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Undercover drugs 'sting' ends in gunfire

Two men have been arrested after drugs sting operation ends in gunfire, injuring two police officers.

Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Minister of Interior, visited the injured police officers in hospital.
Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Minister of Interior, visited the injured police officers in hospital.
BANIYAS // Two injured police officers were being treated in hospital and two men were under arrest last night after a drugs-deal sting operation ended in gunfire.

The officers, a lieutenant and a sergeant, posed as potential buyers of 20kg of hashish for Dh228,000 and arranged to meet two suspected drugs dealers in Maqbara ("graveyard") Street in Baniyas West at about 6pm on Monday.

As the exchange was about to take place, one of the dealers suddenly pulled out a gun and shot at the officers' unmarked police vehicle before speeding off in a high-powered car.

It is not known if either of the officers was shot. The President, Sheikh Khalifa, yesterday placed a private plane at their disposal so they can be taken abroad for treatment when their conditions stabilise.

FI, 19, from Yemen, was arrested at the scene. Police chased MK, 26, an Emirati, who they say drove off at an "insane" speed, but could not catch him. He was arrested two hours later in Sharjah, trying to leave the country.

The two injured police officers were taken to a government hospital. Sheikh Saif bin Zayed, the Minister of Interior, is being kept informed.

The minister visited them personally on Monday night, and again yesterday afternoon, when he passed on greetings from Sheikh Khalifa.

The President has since followed the case, and has ordered that their treatment continue abroad as soon as they can be moved.

Police say the gunfire broke out after FI walked to the officers' vehicle, took the money from them and examined it. He then called over MK, who became suspicious and started shooting

Investigators believe he opened fire because he feared arrest, and also hoped to keep the money.

He is unemployed, and was fired from a previous job because of repeated aggression at work. Police describe him as being of low intelligence.

The 20kg of hashish has been confiscated.

After the shooting, and again yesterday, police visited the area to reassure residents and tell them what happened before unfounded rumours spread.

Despite that, residents said yesterday that different versions of the story started spreading before midnight on Monday.

One young Emirati who lives near by heard about the shooting in a BlackBerry message. It said one officer had been shot in the stomach and the other in the leg.

Another version claimed the officer shot in the stomach had been taken to intensive care at Mafraq Hospital. The hospital declined to comment.

In Baniyas West, residents said Maqbara Street had been closed off for the rest of Monday night.

Two Emiratis driving in the area said they had noticed a lot of police cars around that evening. One said it was not unusual for residents to keep weapons at home. "Some families do, I'm not saying I do," he said.

His friend said the area was "extremely peaceful and safe" and a strong police presence was normal.


* Additional reporting by Thamer al Subaihi