Five times the UAE caught international crime lords in the past year

UAE officials help to capture some of the world's most notorious crime bosses

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Police officials in the UAE had a busy year nabbing criminal masterminds and international drug lords.

Dubai Police played a part in catching notorious fugitives on international most-wanted lists.

The National put together a list of some of the biggest crime bosses caught in the UAE in recent times.

1. Moufide ‘Mouf’ Bouchibi, also known as 'the Ghost'

Last week, Dubai Police caught the French drug dealer and international crime kingpin Moufide ‘Mouf’ Bouchibi, also known as 'the Ghost'.

He was arrested in Dubai where he was travelling under a false identity, after 10 years on the run.

Dubai Police received a Red Notice from Interpol against Bouchibi before he arrived in the emirate.

Bouchibi, 39, used forged identification to evade detection, but Dubai police used artificial intelligence technology to track him down.

French detectives had only an image of Mr Bouchibi from more than 20 years ago.

Nevertheless, Dubai Police analysed pictures and videos of the suspect, and worked out his whereabouts.

Bouchibi, was involved in drug trafficking and smuggling operations across Europe with an estimated annual street value of €70 million ($82.6m).

He was tried in a French court in 2015 and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

2. Ramon Abbas, also known as Hushpuppi

Raymond Abbas, a Nigerian Instagram celebrity widely known as Hushpuppi, was extradited to the United States after his arrest in Dubai. Courtesy: Raymond Abbas Instagram   

Nigerian Ramon Abbas, known as Hushpuppi, is a social media celebrity with millions of followers.

The erstwhile influencer often posted photographs while posing in front of luxury cars or while boarding private jets, until 2020, when he was extradited to the US after being arrested during a raid in Dubai in June.

Mr Abbas allegedly conspired to launder hundreds of millions of dollars from "business email compromise" frauds and other scams.

He and a partner were also accused of plotting to steal £100 million ($140 million) from an unnamed football club in the English Premier League.

US officials reported in February 2021 that Mr Abbas allegedly helped North Korean hackers launder money stolen from a Maltese bank.

Mr Abbas is in US custody awaiting trial.

3. Amir Faten Mekky

Amir Faten Mekky, an international gang leader wanted by Interpol, was arrested in Dubai in June 2020.

The Danish crime boss was arrested during a sting operation.

Special forces raided his residence after he was pictured discarding rubbish outside his home.

Mr Mekky is wanted by Spanish authorities for two murders and a series of arson attacks.

He is also associated with one of the world's most notorious international criminals, Radwan Al Taghi, the head of the Angels of Death gang, who was arrested in Dubai in December 2019 and handed over to the Netherlands.

Mr Mekky was further alleged to be a central figure in the underworld in Malmo, a city in the south of Swedenk.

4. Leon Cullen

Leon Cullen, one of the UK's most wanted men, was arrested in Dubai in January 2020, and returned to the UK in February 2021 to face trial.

Mr Cullen, 33, was extradited from the UAE three years after he left the UK for Dubai.

He was detained in a joint operation by UAE police, Britain's National Crime Agency, and Interpol.

Mr Cullen, from Warrington in north-west England, was extradited to Britain by officers from the National Extradition Unit.

He was charged with being the head of a crime group responsible for supplying firearms and drugs.

At the time, senior British police officials thanked the UAE for its help in his arrest and extradition.

5. Afzal Khan

Afzal Khan in a live broadcast to Fox News in which he offered to give himself up. Courtesy: Fox News

Afzal Khan, a former car showroom owner who once appeared in the Real Housewives of New Jersey, was accused of fraud by the FBI.

He was apprehended in the UAE, after he surrendered himself at the US embassy in Abu Dhabi, and was flown from the UAE to New Jersey in February 2020.

He had been on the FBI's most wanted white-collar criminals list for five years.

Mr Khan, 37, originally from Scotland, was sought by the authorities over an alleged $1.7 million luxury car scam.

He was accused of conning wealthy customers and companies using his Emporio Motor Group dealership in New Jersey.

FBI documents and reports in the United States said the huge fraud involved Lamborghinis, Porsches, Rolls-Royces and bank loans, and at least 75 victims.