Largest heroin seizure in 10 years by Dubai Customs

01 July 2014

Dubai Customs has thwarted the largest heroin smuggling bid in 10 years at Terminal 3 of the Dubai International Airport on 19 June 2014. A haul of 24kg of pure heroin, worth about AED 12 million [2.4 million Euro], was seized in the operation.

The contraband was extracted from secret pockets at the bottom of five bags of a passenger who came from his home country in Asia.

Sultan bin Sulayem, Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, said the operation reflects the Dubai Customs’ firm stand against all bids to smuggle toxic drugs into the UAE. "The major role of the Dubai Customs is twofold: first, to facilitate the procedures for clearing the huge numbers of passengers coming through Dubai Airport; and second, to protect society from the risks arising from smuggled goods."

"The diligent and vigilant Customs inspectors became suspicious of the alleged smuggler because of his anxious behaviour," said Ahmed Mahboob, Director of the Dubai Customs. "The suspect’s five bags were first scanned and manually searched. This inspection unveiled the presence of customised hidden pockets at the bottom of the bags filled with pure heroin," he added.

The passenger, the investigation records, the seizure report and the narcotics were handed over to the Anti-Narcotics General Department of the Dubai Police for further action.

Khalid Ahmed, Acting Director of Airport Operations Department at Dubai Customs, stated that the intercepted heroin is the biggest in ten years. "It is the first time for a single drug smuggler to bring such a huge amount of narcotics," he said.

The suspect had concealed 4.5-5kg of pure heroin in each bag. The five bags, specifically manufactured for smuggling drugs, were all different in a failed attempt to mislead Customs inspectors.

The last major heroin hauls reported in Dubai dates back to December 2013, when Dubai Customs foiled three separate bids to smuggle 165 capsules of heroin, weighing 1.65Kg, at the Dubai International Airport.