UAE and Kuwait team up to seize more than three million pills in major drug operation

Officials made three arrests over Lyrica tablets, Ministry of Interior says

A man was arrested in the Emirates, on suspicion of trying to bring in more than three million illegally obtained tablets of Lyrica. Photo: Ministry of Interior
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The UAE and Kuwait have teamed up to foil a plot to smuggle controlled medicine worth millions.

A man was arrested in the Emirates during the joint operation, on suspicion of trying to bring in more than three million illegally obtained tablets of Lyrica.

It came after two others were apprehended at Kuwait International Airport after being found with one million tablets, the UAE Ministry of Interior said on Friday.

Lyrica is the brand name for pregabalin, a medicine used to treat epilepsy and anxiety.

The drug reduces the number of pain signals that damaged nerves send out.

However, it can be abused as party drug, as it can induce a sensation similar to inebriation.

Brig Saeed Abdullah Al Suwaidi, director general of the Federal Narcotics Control unit in the Ministry of Interior, said the UAE is keen to continue co-ordinating with countries around the world, especially those in the Gulf region, to strengthen efforts to combat drug smuggling.

Last year, Kuwaiti authorities seized the largest consignment of pills in the country's history.

The 15 million Lyrica pills and half a tonne of controlled medicine in powder form were seized during a raid at a farm in Wafra.

Ministry of Interior officials discovered the pills and the equipment used to make capsules at the farm.

Customs officers in Dubai last month foiled an attempt to smuggle 26kg of marijuana concealed in bags of red onions.

Officers became suspicious as soon as the consignment arrived by air freight, based on their knowledge of 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 of the same origin, which bore similar descriptions.

Updated: March 08, 2024, 6:14 PM