Anonymous messages
Dubai Police have launched 'Anonymous Messages' campaign to create awareness to curb online drug trafficking Image Credit: DP

Dubai: Dubai Police have arrested one of the ‘most cunning drug dealers’ operating in disguise as “The Bat,” following a 10-day operation.

The police said he is the right hand of a significant international drug dealer, and the second man in a criminal gang who sold and promoted narcotics in the UAE through social media platforms. The arrest was made in an exceptional operation that took 10 days and the police seized 200kg of drugs from his possession.

Arresting “The Bat”

The highly-skilled officers at the General Department of Anti-Narcotics arrested The Bat. “The gang has been taking extra cautions to carry out their operations and burying the drugs in remote areas across the emirates,” said Brigadier Khalid Bin Muwaiza, acting director of the department. “Yet, through extensive investigation, the police team managed to identify the “The Bat” and arrested him in an operation that lasted ten days, and seized 200kg of drugs in his possession,” he added.

Mystery solved

Brig Bin Muwaiza

Commenting on the details of the operation, Brig Bin Muwaiza said that after the anti-narcotics officers arrested a number of Asian drug dealers and located several hidden stashes of narcotics. The department, through interrogations of the criminals, came across the fact that a third-party dealer, who was known among them as “The Bat”, has been distributing a large number of drugs. However, the dealers never knew the real identity of The Bat, who has been operating inside the emirate on behalf of an international drug-trafficking network.

The Dubai Police formed an investigation team to take down the mysterious dealer. They suspected a man in his thirties, who, after being caught red-handed, pretended to be a mere addict to draw suspicions away. `Nevertheless, the department identified him as “The Bat” in no time and discovered that he owned two vehicles. One he used for his daily operations, and the second was found covered in dust in a parking lot of where he lives and used it as a storage for the drugs.

Anonymous Messages Campaign

Meanwhile, the department has also launched the second edition of the ‘Anonymous Messages’ Campaign, which runs until November 28, in cooperation with “Al Ameen” Service, under the motto: “No engagement … No Reply … No Repost”.

Brig Bin Muwaiza stressed the significant role of parents in raising their children’s awareness of the dangers of drugs and protecting them against cybercriminals who exploit the social media platforms to promote drugs, as well as advise them what to do if they receive such messages.

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527 dealers arrested

He also pointed out that the community members’ interaction and communication with the Dubai Police, whether through the Dubai Police’s toll-free number 901 or the “e-crime” online platform, reflects the public’s awareness and keenness to enhance community security.

Annoymous Messages campaign

“During the first half of this year, the e-crime platform received about 2,222 reports on Anonymous Messages, while 527 dealers were arrested during the same period. “The arrest of one dealer could solve a large number of reports,” Brig. Bin Muwaiza said.

He pointed out that the launch of the second edition of the “Anonymous Messages” campaign comes, as per the directives of Lieutenant General Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri, Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police, to fight against such activity through two ways; the first is raising awareness through the Hemaya International Centre in cooperation with partners, whereas the second one is through combating the dealers on the ground.

He also reaffirmed the readiness of the General Department of Anti-Narcotics at Dubai Police to work round the clock and combat the scourge of drugs.

Risks and concerns

“We pay extra attention to the public comments and reports on these types of messages. The most frequent complaints indicated that no matter how many times they blocked these numbers, the messages kept coming from different ones,” Brig Bin Muwaiza continued.

“This was expected as the criminals and dealers are developing new techniques and taking advantage of the latest technologies to reach addicts, in particular, and members of the public, in general,” he explained.

“The criminals would typically share GPS coordinates of the location of the drugs, which were usually buried in the ground in remote areas.”

“Although we spare no effort to combat this phenomenon, the concerns that these messages succeeded in getting a response from people out of curiosity, especially the adolescents, are still remaining an issue,” the officer said.

“However, through this campaign, the Dubai Police aims to raise the awareness of the parents to educate their children on the dangers of replying to these messages, be it from legal or health aspects. The Force urges the public to contact the police, report these messages through e-crime platforms, and block the numbers,” he added.