A man who dealt drugs via a WhatsApp account has been jailed for three years and fined Dh100,000 by a Dubai court.
The Bangladeshi man, who was arrested in February, was said to be a key link in an international drugs ring.
The investigation began following a tip-off about drugs being sold in the UAE by someone using an international phone number.
Dubai Police followed the trail of money back to a bank account belonging to the defendant.
The account, opened in November of the previous year, had received a total of Dh430,000 through 814 deposits ranging from Dh20 to Dh5,500.
The deposits were made by 604 people from different parts of the country, using ATM machines.
Many of those people were arrested and their criminal records revealed a history of drug abuse.
Blood tests also showed they were under the influence of drugs.
Money laundered through six accounts
To launder the money, funds were divided across six different bank accounts in 72 separate transfers. In some cases, money was withdrawn at ATM machines outside the UAE.
The investigation also discovered the defendant had opened a bank account using a forged salary certificate.
When questioned, he claimed a Pakistani man had requested him to do so in exchange for a percentage of the deposits.
Despite the defendant’s claims of ignorance about the nature of the business conducted through the account, Dubai Criminal Court found him guilty.
In addition to the drug-related charge – facilitating money exchange resulting from drug dealing, he was convicted of using forgery to open a bank account, which added a month to his prison sentence.
He will be deported once the prison sentence has been served.