Drug smugglers in the GCC took a major hit this year after more than 150 kilogrammes of marijuana and almost 3 million Captagon tablets were seized in joint GCC operations.
Anti-Narcotics departments from the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Oman foiled four operations and arrested twelve suspects in connection to smuggling drugs during the first half of the year, a senior official said.
“Abu Dhabi Police and Sharjah Police’s Anti-Narcotics Departments received secret information about the plots, then the co-operation resulted in the execution of four "Controlled Deliveries" operations in the past six months,” said Lt Col Saeed Al Suwaidi, director-general of the Anti-Narcotics Federal Directorate General at the Ministry of Interior.
He said three of the raids were carried out in co-operation with Saudi Arabian authorities and police collaborated with Omani authorities with the fourth.
Col Taher Al Dhaheri, director of Abu Dhabi Police's Drug Control department said they were tipped-off about a regional network of drug traffickers plotting to smuggle 50kg of hashish from Yemen to Oman through the UAE.
"The main suspect was arrested in a joint operation with Omani authorities while he was receiving the drugs. The man showed great resistance and was found in possession of a fire gun, 31 bullets and Dh50,000 which he intended to pay to the people who delivered the drugs," said Col Al Dhaheri.
Two other operations were carried out against a gang from an unspecified Arab country which intended to smuggle a large amount of Hashish and Captagon, a cheaply produced psycho-stimulant used and exported by extremists fighting in Syria, to Saudi Arabia through the UAE.
"The drugs shipments were kept under observation until they arrived to the UAE then were seized and those smuggling it were arrested," he said.
Lt Col Majid Al-Asem, director of Sharjah police's Narcotics Control, said 2.7m Captagon pills were seized in the final operation, in which Saudi Arabia assisted with the raid.
"We received information about a gang intending to smuggle two million and 700,000 tablets of Ceptagon to KSA through the country, so a team was set up to work on the case in collaboration with Saudi authorities and the gang members were all arrested," he said.
In March this year Lt Col Al Suwaidi said the amount of drugs seized in the UAE had almost tripled, while the number of drug-related criminal arrests more than doubled.
He said the increase was likely due to political turmoil and security challenges in the region that create loopholes in which criminals can flourish.