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Sharjah: More than 500 traffickers who targeted the public through a WhatsApp “drug delivery service” have been arrested by Sharjah Police during a major crime-fighting campaign.

Brigadier General Ibrahim Al Ajel, Deputy Director-General of Police Operations, told Gulf News the anti-narcotics department recorded 912 cases of drug peddling on WhatsApp, which led to 500 arrests.

Sharjah Police have also blocked 124 social media accounts and websites promoting drugs, fake goods, and other banned items.

Brig Al Ajel said the main challenge police face is the promotion of drugs over the internet, and in particular on social networking sites. Recently, traffickers have sent voice messages or texts to random phone numbers in the UAE to promote different types of drugs including restricted painkillers, hashish and crystal meth, heroin and others.

How it worked

He added that the said the police is tracking and blocking such numbers, websites and social networks. Many users buy drugs via the internet and send money online to dealers, Brig Al Ajel said. Some people also deposit money in bank accounts and are then informed about the location of drugs via WhatsApp, he added.

Sharjah Police’s online patrols are operating round-the-clock to monitor cybercrime and suspicious activities and arrest people who misuse social media and blackmail victims. These patrols have identified 800 criminal methods so far.

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How to report drugs

Brig Al Ajel has urged the public to block and report any phone number that promotes the selling of any kind of controlled medicine or drug.

Lieutenant Colonel Majid Al Asam, director of the Anti-Narcotics Department at Sharjah Police, called on community members to cooperate with security officers to tackle drug promotion and to report any suspicious activities on 8004654, Sharjah Police app, website, or the email address