Maj Gen Abdullah Khalifa Al Merri reveals details of the drug haul during a press conference. Image Credit: Courtesy: Dubai Police

Dubai: Dubai Police arrested 16 people and seized 365-kg of drugs in the UAE’s largest ever heroin haul, an official said on Sunday.

Major General Abdullah Khalifa Al Merri, Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police, said that the suspects smuggled the heroin, hashish and crystal meth, said to be worth Dh280 million, inside vehicle spare parts.

“It is the largest heroin seizure in the UAE,” said Al Merri, during a press conference at Dubai Police Headquarters in Al Ghusais on Monday. “Dubai Police arrested two international drug gangs and foiled their attempts to spread the drugs in our society.

“They were smuggling the drugs inside cars spare parts and stored it in a warehouse,” he added.

The drug haul included 268kg of heroin, 96kg of crystal meth and 1kg of hashish.

Dubai Police said the operation, entitled ‘Stalker’, was successfully carried out in collaboration with Ajman, Sharjah and Umm Al Quwain police, who helped arrest the 16 Asian suspects.

“Dubai Police received information about an international drug gang operating in the UAE,” said Al Merri. “Major efforts from officers who kept monitoring the suspects helped to accomplish the operation. The gangs were targeting youngsters in the UAE with their drugs,” he added.

Meanwhile, Major-General Khalil Ebrahim Al Mansouri, Assistant Commander-in-Chief for Criminal Investigation Affairs, said that the case involved an exchange of information with many other countries to help nab the suspects and seize the drugs.

“Dubai Police teams collected information from different areas in the UAE and coordinated with Interpol to arrest the suspects,” said Al Mansouri. “Many countries helped the UAE in this case by exchanging information.

“The Data Analysis Centre at Dubai Police also played a major role in analysing the data and predicting the suspects’ movement,” he added.

Al Mansouri said the drugs would have had a negative impact on society if they had found their way on the market.

Colonel Khalid Bin Moyazeh, Deputy Director of the Anti-Narcotic Department at Dubai Police, said that the first gang contained six Asian suspects who were posing as cleaners, employees and maintenance workers to smuggle and sell the drugs.

“The gang’s ring leader is a resident in the UAE and works as cleaner,” said Bin Moyazeh.

“He was coordinating with a big drug dealer in his home country to smuggle and trade drugs inside the UAE,” he added.

On January 26 of this year, Dubai Police arrested two suspects near their residence in Sharjah while they were delivering a bag containing 4.2kg of drugs to a third suspect.

Other suspects were arrested later and one of them was arrested at Sharjah International Airport as he tried to flee the country.

A second gang was arrested at a garage in Sharjah after a Dubai Police tip off.

“The gang hid part of the drugs stash in Umm Al Quwain and the other in a car workshop in Sharjah. We raided the car workshop and arrested the suspects and found the drugs hidden inside car spare parts. The drugs were smuggled as spare parts and the gang aimed to sell it inside the country,” said Bin Moyazeh.

What was seized

268kg of Heroin

96kg of Crystal Meth

1kg of Hashish

Value Dh280 Million

16 Asian suspects

Officers worked 480 hours over 20 days