Sharjah: Police on Wednesday said they arrested an international gang of 14 suspects who intended to smuggle more than two tonnes of hashish into the country through the Eastern Coast.

A senior police official at Sharjah Police said the operation code name for the drug bust was "Eastern Wind" and was the largest quantity of hashish intended to enter the country in the past 20 years.

In co-ordination with the armed coast guard and the Anti-Narcotics Section at Sharjah Police, the authorities managed to arrest 12 Iranians and two Pakistanis who were planning to smuggle 2.5 tonnes of hashish through the coast of Khor Fakkan.

"Our last major drug-related arrest was in 1991 when smugglers tried to bring in three tonnes of hashish through Khor Fakkan. Last Wednesday, we found out that a large boat was hiding huge quantities of hashish inside cooking flour bags. The 14 gang members were on the boat at the time of the arrest, and even though they tried to escape we managed to cordon off the area and hold them down."

The police official explained that Sharjah Police initially received a tip-off about the drugs that were being smuggled into UAE territorial water, and that the gang were on the look-out for a buyer.

"After confirming the information, we immediately formed an investigation team from the Anti-Narcotics Department whose main mission was to uncover the gang's plans. One of our officer's then pretended to be a buyer and contacted the head of the gang members several times in order to make a deal to buy the hashish."

Customs detects drugs

Customs foiled three separate attempts to smuggle in 8kg of the methamphetamine drug, also known as crystal meth. Ali Al Maqhawi, Director of Airport Operations at Dubai Customs, said that Customs officers were able to foil the separate attempts by two Asian passengers and one African woman after manually searching their bags. Al Maqhawi said that the officers suspected the contents of the bag after the scanners showed an unusually high amount of content. On searching them, the officers were able to find the concealed drug, he said.