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The international operation to arrest the drug kingpin was conducted in cooperation between Dubai Police and the police agencies in France, Spain and Colombia. Picture for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: Dubai Police arrested an international drug lord involved in drug trafficking and smuggling operations across Europe and South America.

The international operation to arrest the drug kingpin was conducted in cooperation between Dubai Police and the police agencies in France, Spain and Colombia.

According to Dubai Police, 17 other suspects have been arrested from different counties and 22 tonnes of cocaine mixed with sugar was seized from a ship coming from Colombia to France.

According to Lt General Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri, Commander-In-Chief of Dubai Police, the operation titled ‘Sugar Cane’ was a major success after the arrest of the main suspect, identified as M.D. “He was a major member in one of the biggest international organised [crime] gangs. They were smuggling Cocaine between South America and Europe in ships of sugar, apart from running labs in Europe to separate the sugar from the Cocaine,” Lt Gen Al Marri said.

“Dubai Police are playing a vital role in combating drug trafficking in the world and developing the bonds between the UAE and other countries in combating organised crimes,” he added. Information was exchanged between Dubai Police and police agencies in France to establish a zero hour to arrest the suspects.

According to Brigadier Eid Mohammed Hareb, Director of the Anti-Narcotic Department in Dubai Police, the preparation for the operation started one year ago as the gang established fake shipping and commercial companies to operate between South America and Europe during COVID-19 pandemic.

“They were shipping food through Port of Le Havre in France, but police and customs authorities in France discovered the food in containers mixed with Cocaine,” said Brig Hareb. The sugar containers from Colombia to France and Spain were under surveillance until the zero hour of the operation at 4am on May 5, this year.

“The French authorities arrested ten suspects in Paris, Cannes, Meudon and Lyon. One of the suspects was a chemical expert in separating Cocaine from Sugar,” added Brig Hareb.

Seven other suspects were arrested in Madrid and Barcelona, including a chemical expert and deputy of the gang leader, while the drug lord was arrested by Dubai Police.

“About 22 tonnes of sugar mixed with drugs was seized in the joint operation. There was between 3 to 15 per cent drugs mixed with sugar in the 900 seized bags,” he added.

Moreover, the operation revealed that the gang was behind smuggling 12 tonnes of tobacco to Belgium in August 2021. “They made a failed attempt to smuggle 600kg of Cocaine in September 2021 in Colombia.”

Dubai Police said the gang was also involved in laundering millions of euros.

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French authority thanks Dubai

Meanwhile, French police have thanked UAE and Dubai Police for their role in the operation and the arrest of the drug lord.

Stephane Charbonneau, director of the anti-drug office in France, praised the role of Dubai Police in combating organised crime and the swift action in exchanging information and helping in arresting all the suspects.