The suspects with the drug haul. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The Dubai Police have recently foiled a plot by an international gang to smuggle 123kg of crystal meth into the country by hiding the narcotics in the lower bottom of a refrigerated shipping container arriving from an Asian country.

Codenamed “the Fridge”, the operation apprehended three gang members red-handed as they were trying to fit the smuggled drugs in the bottom of the container in preparation for the final delivery. The culprits were acting on the instructions of their leader, who is based in an Asian country.

Lieutenant General Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri

Lieutenant General Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri, Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police, confirmed that Operation “The Fridge” is another example of the force’s continuous efforts to combat and thwart drug dealers and promoters who seek to spread drugs among the youth. “The safety and security of the UAE community is a line that shan’t be crossed. Our anti-narcotics officers are always ready and will spare no effort to eradicate these harmful toxins and handover drug dealers and smugglers to justice,” Lt. Gen. Al Marri vowed.

Fruitful cooperation

Khalil Ibrahim Al Mansouri

Major General Khalil Ibrahim Al Mansouri, Assistant Commander-in-Chief for Criminal Investigation Affairs, said the fruitful cooperation between anti-drug agencies at the state level has been a key factor in thwarting criminals attempts to smuggle and promote drugs into the country. “Empowered by the accumulated experience of the anti-narcotics teams of Dubai Police, Sharjah Police and Sharjah Customs, we have been able to dismantle the organisation who sought to introduce and promoting their toxins into our safe country,” Maj-Gen Al Masnouri said.

The container

Brigadier Eid Mohammed Thani Hareb, Director of Anti-Narcotics Department at Dubai Police, said they were tipped off an Asian criminal gang located inside the country. “We’ve learnt that the gang were expecting a shipment of drugs concealed in a container designated for transporting fruits and vegetables on a ship arriving from an Asian country,” Brig. Hareb added.

Brig. Hareb said they immediately assigned the case to a specialised task force. “We made sure all legal measures were also taken including a permission from the Dubai Public Prosecution to arrest and search the suspect, as well as inspecting their vehicle and residence” he added. Dubai Police coordinated with the Sharjah Police and Sharjah Customs in order to facilitate the team’s mission and to intensify the surveillance on the suspected refrigerated container.

One step ahead

Brig. Hareb pointed out that the fruit and vegetable merchant came to the seaport and received the container and unloaded the shipment into the Fruit & Vegetable Market. However, the merchant was unaware that the gang had exploited his container to hide 123kg of crystal meth at the bottom.

“After unloading the container, the merchant placed it in a sandy yard designated for parking and queuing containers. Meanwhile, the undercover Anti-narcotics team maintained close surveillance and waited for the gang members to come for their illegal shipment,” Brig. Hareb added.

“One night, three individuals approached the yard and started looking for the refrigerated container,” “As they proceeded to unload the drugs, our Anti-drug team took them by surprise and arrested the suspect red-handed and foiled their desperate escape attempt,” Brig. Hareb continued.

Brig. Hareb said during investigations, the suspects admitted that they were directed by their leader, who lives in an Asian country, to unload the drugs and hide them for some time until they have received new instructions for the final delivery. The suspects also confessed that they carried out that operation in return for Dh12,000.

Professional collaboration

The director of the Anti-Narcotics Department at Dubai Police praised the cooperation and coordination with Sharjah Police, pointing out that these joint efforts are key to ensuring the safety and security of the nation. He added they always work closely with their local, regional, and international counterparts to protect societies against drugs dealers and promoters.

The first line of defence

Brig. Hareb called upon the public to report any suspicious activities to the Department by contacting Dubai Police Call Centre 901. “It’s everyone’s duty to report individuals and suspicious activities that pose harm to our society. Especially drugs related matters,” Brig. Hareb said.

He reminded that Article 43 of the UAE Federal Law states that no criminal proceedings shall be instituted against any abuser of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances who voluntarily present themselves.