Dubai Customs seize 26kg of marijuana smuggled in red onion shipments

Packages arrived via air freight - but officers were immediately suspicious

Dubai Customs officers have foiled an attempt to smuggle 26kg of marijuana hidden in bags of red onions. Photo: Dubai Customs
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Customs officers in Dubai have foiled an attempt to smuggle 26kg of marijuana concealed in bags of red onions.

Officers suspected the shipments as soon as they arrived via air freight, after analysing smuggling techniques and patterns.

Using advanced X-ray detection technology they noticed unusual densities within the shipments from an African country.

Closer inspection revealed marijuana in some of the bags of onions, with the first shipment containing 14.85kg of the drug.

An additional 11.6kg was found in a second shipment arriving from the same origin and bearing similar descriptions.

“The successful detection of the marijuana by our qualified inspection officers reflects Dubai Customs' exceptional capabilities in safeguarding the emirate's customs outlets,” said Mohamed Al Suwaidi, senior manager of Cargo Village Customs Centre.

“These bags were meticulously inspected manually, confirming the presence of the narcotic substance marijuana,” he said.

Dubai Customs has invested heavily in training and equipping its officers with the knowledge and tools, including state-of-the-art X-ray machines, to detect and counteract criminals' ever-evolving smuggling methods.

Earlier this month, Dubai customs officers arrested a man on suspicion of smuggling 6.5kg of hashish hidden inside his car at a land border checkpoint.

Inspectors grew suspicious of the man, who appeared confused and tried to hurry through the customs inspection.

Initially they found three grams of crystal meth hidden inside a secret pocket in his clothes before discovering large wraps of hashish concealed in compartments in the vehicle.

In June last year, customs officers at Dubai International Airport detained a passenger from a Latin American country trying to smuggle 3.2kg of cocaine inside his belt.

Nothing illegal was found in the man’s baggage but a body scan revealed drugs were concealed in a compressed body belt.

Updated: March 28, 2024, 12:03 PM