DUBAI // Five men convicted of running drug factories in Umm Al Quwain and Dubai were today granted release from jail after serving 15 years of their life sentences.
The five Indian nationals - FK, 51, MS, 42, PF, 60, MK, 42 and FD, 77 - were among 21 people, including a senior government official, who were sentenced in 1997 to life in prison for their roles in the manufacture of the drug methaqualone, a highly addictive barbiturate.
The Criminal Court granted the request of the five men to be released on the grounds of good behaviour.
Police discovered the drug factories after raiding a car showroom in Garhoud in June 1997 where they believed the Syrian ZA was selling premium used cars stolen from Europe.
The officers did not find the Syrian during the raid - he remains at large and was sentenced in absentia - but did find a sack containing a chemical substance hidden inside a car. An examination showed the substance to be an ingredient used in the manufacture of drugs.
Along with five fake passports belonging to the Syrian, other evidence uncovered in the raid led police to an Asian gang involved with the Syrian in manufacturing methaqualone. The gang were being housed by a senior government official in a villa on the Umm Al Quwain-Ras Al Khaimah Highway. The villa also served as one of the drug factories, while the other factory was located near a water park in Dubai.
Police found five million pills at the villa and a further million at the Dubai factory.
The drugs, which weighed four tonnes in total, were intended for distribution in Africa and India at a profit of about Dh120 million.