Dubai: From hygiene items and coffee machines to scuba tanks and sound amplifiers, smugglers caught in Dubai have used several quirky tools to cleverly conceal drugs, Dubai Customs has revealed.
“The effective investment by Dubai Customs in training and refining the skills of inspectors, along with equipping customs centres with cutting-edge inspection devices, has resulted in the discovery of unprecedented methods for detecting smuggling activities,” Dubai Customs said on Thursday.
In the years 2022-2023, it said the Dubai Customs officers seized 50.676 kilogrammes of ‘crystal meth’ in 382 air cargo packages, cleverly concealed within hygiene-related items, exercise equipment, coffee making-machines, and decorative ornaments.
Furthermore, Dubai Customs inspectors successfully thwarted the smuggling of 251kgs of narcotic marijuana distributed among 3,477 packages, hidden in oxygen cylinders for diving and sound amplifiers.
Sultan Saif Al-Suwaidi, the director of Air Cargo Centres Management at Dubai Customs, said: “Over the past two years, Dubai Customs officers in air cargo management have uncovered new tactics used in drug smuggling. This discovery was made possible by their extensive expertise and continually refined skills through specialised training courses focused on detecting contraband.”
“Utilising cutting-edge global support devices, inspectors successfully handled 1,500 diverse cases at air cargo centers in 2022 and 2023, encompassing both illicit drug-related incidents and customs-related occurrences.”
These centres, characterised by high cargo movement, underscore Dubai Customs’ commitment to uncovering smugglers’ attempts involving prohibited substances in various forms, including counterfeit and restricted goods, Al-Suwaidi pointed out.
He said the department aims to lead globally in secure customs, as outlined in its 2021-2026 strategy. “Additionally, the department commends the skill of its employees and their strong security awareness towards the nation. Their dedication extends to enhancing the global reputation of Dubai and the UAE, considering the health, economic, and societal risks and damages associated with drugs. Moreover, they play a crucial role in facilitating business operations and cargo movements through air shipments.”