Dubai Police thwarted a bid by an international drug syndicate to smuggle 500 kilograms of cocaine with a street value of Dh500 million.
The force set up a task force after being tipped off about the major plot, which involved a lone accomplice in the emirate.
Dubai Police shared footage of the swoop on social media – and vowed to “strike with an iron fist” anyone who tried to compromise the country’s security.
The drugs were stashed inside a cargo container and shipped to Dubai.
When they entered the country, the group’s accomplice took them to a warehouse in another emirate.
“An investigating team was immediately formed to verify and respond to the security tip,” said Brig Eid Hareb, Director of Anti-Narcotics Department at Dubai Police
“They monitored the suspect’s movements until he received the expected narcotics shipment.
“Once the shipment arrived, the suspect transported the illegal drugs to another emirate and stored them in a warehouse.”
'Largest drug seizure in region'
Anti-narcotics officers set Operation Scorpion in motion, tracking the suspect’s arrival at an airport and his subsequent movements in Dubai in a round-the-clock surveillance campaign.
The target, who had rented an SUV, was spotted visiting a warehouse and caught buying cutting tools while being closely monitored.
The smuggler tried to evade officers, making a sudden turn while driving to a warehouse to unload the huge haul of drugs.
Operation Scorpion had a sting in the tail for the drugs gang member. Police kept him firmly in their sights and arrested him at the scene.
Drugs and cutting tools were seized from his car during a search.
Dozens of packages of cocaine were later found, in what Dubai Police described as the largest drug seizure in the region.
Colonel Khalid bin Muwaiza, deputy director of the General Department of Anti-Narcotics, said the suspect confessed to the crime and was referred to the Public Prosecution for further legal action.
Police in Dubai remain determined to stay one step ahead of criminals – and keep drugs off the streets.
In March, a French drug dealer who became an international kingpin, known as “the ghost”, was arrested in Dubai travelling under a false identity after 10 years on the run.
Moufide “Mouf” Bouchibi, 41, eluded French detectives for more than a decade and rose through the narcotics ranks from Parisian street dealer to global trafficker.
He imported 60 tonnes of cannabis to Europe every year, pocketing annual takings of €70 million ($81m).
In August, one of Italy’s most wanted men, who is sought over the sales of two stolen Van Gogh paintings on the black market, was also arrested in Dubai.
Police said they raided the home of Raffaele Imperiale, 46, on July 30.
He is alleged to be a drugs kingpin of Naples’ feared Camorra organised crime syndicate.
Valuables including cash and paintings were seized in the raid.