Dubai: A cooking gas tube, one out of four tubes that was smuggled into the country by sea by a gang and filled with the drug crystal meth (shabu), exploded when they attempted to dismantle the tube in a residential flat in Dubai’s Al Marr district.

The three Asians were arrested by the Dubai Police Anti Narcotics Department in June.

Major General Abdul Jaleel Mahdi Mohammad Al Asmawi, Head of the Anti Narcotics Department, arrived at the scene of the explosion and was accompanied by civil defence and ambulance units.

Al Asmawi said that the explosion was due to an error committed by the second defendant and gang member as he hurriedly opened the gas tube to take out the drug using electric scissors.

However, Al Asmawi said, the gang member did not ensure that the flat was clear of gas from the other gas tubes that were emptied of their contents. As a result, a huge explosion took place which led to severe material damage and cracks in the walls of the building.

The gang member also sustained severe burns, said Al Asmawi, but he was able to escape before the arrival of the police.

Colonel Khalid Saleh Al Kuwari, Deputy Anti Narcotics Department Head in Dubai Police, said that gang members designed the gas tubes in a way that enabled them to smuggle the Crystal drug – which is an expensive narcotic used in East Asian countries. It was not easy to discover their crime because they filled the upper parts of the gas tubes with cooking gas, while the lower parts included tanks which they filled with the narcotic substance.

Al Kuwari added that after finding 32.4 kilograms of the drug that was untouched by the explosion, a team was put together headed by an officer from the department.

A few hours later the first gang member — S.A.A., aged 44, who works as an investor — was arrested at Hor Al Anz in Dubai. He confessed that he had carried the four gas tubes from Sharjah to the flat where the explosion took place. He also said that he had called the second gang member to take the drugs out of the gas tubes.

Badly burnt

The team went to Sharjah and arrested the second and third gang members after raiding the flat of the third defendant (H.A.A., 38, who works in a trading company).

The second defendant — S.R.S., 38, married, and a businessman — was in charge of opening the gas tubes which contained the narcotics. As a result he was badly burnt after the gas tube exploded in the flat.
He was taken to Rashid Hospital where he was treated for several days and then handed over to the police.

The three defendants were referred to the authorities concerned while the third defendant was also accused of hiding a fugitive criminal.