Dubai Customs seizes 3 million illegal Tramadol pills

12 March 2015

Dubai Customs has conducted one of its largest seizures in recent times with the recovery of three million illegal tramadol pills, valued at 60 million Emirati Dirham (16.3 million USD).

The drugs were detected by Dubai Customs inspectors at Dubai Cargo Village Customs Centre, using its internationally-acclaimed, award-winning Risk Engine system.

"The Risk Engine is a smart system which is fed with up-to-date data from various resources, enabling it to identify suspected shipments with a high level of accuracy," said Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, director of Dubai Customs.

The drugs were concealed in 60 parcels and arrived in Dubai via an inbound flight from Asia.

The colourful history of the importer, combined with intelligence gathered by the Risk Engine, led Customs to believe their suspicions were grounded and the parcels were closely monitored until their eventual arrival at the Cargo Village Customs Centre.

"Cracking down on smugglers and safeguarding the community are major responsibilities on our shoulders," said Mr. Musabih.

"Two years ago, we launched a huge awareness campaign about the side effects of tramadol. The drive had a positive impact on the public, particularly youngsters, as they are the most targeted by drug dealers."

The Customs declaration form stated that the parcels contained medical products and lab equipment. However, "at the physical inspection of the consignment, it actually contained nothing but narcotic tramadol," said Hamid Mohammed Rasheed, director of Air Customs Centres Management at Dubai Customs.

"Though tramadol is an effective opiate medication and can be used only if prescribed by a doctor, it has dangerous side effects on human health and sanity," said Abdullah Al Khaja, executive director of Customer Management Division at Dubai Customs.

Tramadol is a controlled substance in many countries, and in the UAE it is listed as a narcotic substance. A permit from the Ministry of Health is required to import Tramadol.

Official figures reveal that Dubai Customs successfully thwarted three attempts to smuggle Tramadol pills into the country in 2014.

Link to Dubai Customs website