73kg of drugs stashed inside car parts seized in Dubai

Customs officials used artificial intelligence to thwart smuggling bid

Customs officials in Dubai turned to artificial intelligence to foil a bid to smuggle 73kg of crystal meth into the country.

The haul of drugs were found stashed inside spare vehicle parts by a team from Jebel Ali Customs Centre after a smart technology tool deemed the shipment to be 'risky'.

The Smart Risk Engine, developed in-house by Dubai Customs, uses cutting-edge AI applications to assess whether incoming shipments could potentially be hiding illegal items.

"We work together with the Intelligence Department and based on the reports released by their risk engine we move to thwart any smuggling attempts in order to protect our society from the hazards of drugs," said Yousef Al Hashimi, Director of Jebel Ali Customs Centre Management.

“We have built a very advanced system to curb these illegal attempts, and this seizure reveals the level of professionalism and skills our staff have.

"The Smart Scanning System is able to scan 150 containers per hour without any human intervention. We have 6 scanning systems in Jebel Ali which means we can check 900 containers per hour."

Shuaib Al Suwaidi, Director of Dubai Customs Intelligence Department, said new technologies are being put to good use to combat increasingly sophisticated methods to smuggle contraband into the Emirates.

"The Smart Risk Engine plays an essential role in intercepting suspicious shipments based on data fed by different channels. Around 97 per cent of shipments are classified by the risk engine as non-hazardous and approved in less than two minutes."

The shipment came from a neighbouring country in the Middle East, which customs chiefs did not name.