Dubai foils biggest drug-smuggling attempt at port and seizes 662kg of narcotics

Sniffer dogs, artificial intelligence and drones were used to find the stash that included crystal meth, heroin and opium

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Customs officials in Dubai foiled an attempt to smuggle 662 kilograms of drugs onboard a dhow - the biggest haul seized at the coastal borders.

On Tuesday, the authorities said the narcotics were found carefully hidden on a vessel in Dubai.

Officers from Creek and Deira Wharfage Customs Centre, which operates under the Sea Customs Management, found the drugs with the help of sniffer dogs and through use of artificial intelligence technology and drones.

“The customs operations room at the Sea Customs Centre Management studied and analysed all intelligence data that had been collected about a dhow coming to the country carrying a suspicious shipment,” Dubai Customs said on Tuesday.

The vessel was flagged as ‘very high risk’ and tracked. When it reached the port, the dhow was searched thoroughly.

“The drugs were concealed skilfully in a secret stash in the vessel. Using the mobile customs laboratory, the recovered contraband was initially screened for drugs and the test result turned out positive,” Dubai Customs said.

The seized drugs consisted of 306.44kg of crystal meth, 201.44kg of opium and cannabis, and 122.72kg of narcotic pills and psychotropic substances and 32.62kg of heroin.

“As part of our strategic role in protecting the society, we stand firm and alert against any smuggling attempts through different borders," said Ahmed Musabih, director general of Dubai Customs

"This new seizure is an example of how efficient our people work in these difficult times in which we face the spread of the Covid-19.”

Abdullah Busnad, executive director of Customs Inspection Division at Dubai Customs said the customs control team, Siyaj, recently introduced an advanced tracking system to help catch smuggled contraband.

“We have developed our customs inspection and examination capacities to a highly progressive level, and this helps us easily target and intercept high-risk shipments," he said.