Police reveal key role in global war on narcotics

Head of Dubai anti-drug unit says record shows success of international cooperation

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DUBAI // Dubai Police have revealed the key role they played in one of the largest international drug stings of recent times.

Details of their part in breaking the Ficino drug-trafficking and money-laundering network emerged yesterday as they outlined the success of international cooperation in the fight against drugs.

Major General Abdul Al Jaleel Al Mahdi, the head of the anti-narcotics department at Dubai Police, said the force had been a key member of the international investigation team that broke the Ficino network in October last year.

The team had been tracking the network since 2009 and had a breakthrough after the arrest of two people and seizure of more than 140 kilograms of cocaine in Peru.

Dubai Police discovered heavy machinery, which was sent from Germany to Argentina through Dubai, was being loaded with drugs in South America before being redistributed across the world.

Following their work, Dutch police were able to make five arrests in October and a further arrest in November. Raids on the network followed in Spain and Dubai where more suspects were arrested.

"Some countries are only concerned with people who are operating in their countries and are not interested in what type of activities they carry out [abroad], but for us it is different," said Gen Al Mahdi.

He also revealed that last year Dubai Police helped other forces across the world to foil 26 smuggling attempts, involving 76kg of drugs, while foreign law enforcement agencies helped in the seizure of 139kg in Dubai.

The UAE has agreements with the United Kingdom, the United States, China, Malaysia and France to enhance co-operation in fighting the drug trade, Gen Al Mahdi said.

Of the 26 smuggling attempts in foreign countries that Dubai Police helped to solve, 16 took place in unidentified Asian countries, nine in Africa and one in Australia. Heroin accounted for 130kg of the 139kg of drugs seized in Dubai.

Gen Al Mahdi said international co-operation helped police to arrest several people operating foreign drug networks from Dubai.

"There are some people who are living in Dubai and are not carrying out any illegal activity here but still head the operation of drug trafficking from the UAE, so we are committed to tracking down these people."