DUBAI // Police have seized 130 kilograms of heroin with a street value of about Dh65million.
The haul had been hidden in a container that drew suspicion after its shipping route was changed.
The seizure was the largest this year and took place on October 9 after police received international intelligence about a possible drug transfer.
Officers suspect a large international drug-trafficking ring was behind the smuggling and that the operation was based in Pakistan.
"We have gathered information about a number of suspects and submitted it to the Pakistani authorities who are working on the case," said Maj Gen Abdul Al Jalil Al Mahdi, the head of the anti-drugs department at Dubai Police.
No arrests had yet been made.
Another container housing heroin, which was believed to belong to the same network, was seized in Spain two days before the Dubai capture. Police dubbed the operation the "confused container" because the route of the heroin, which had Spain listed as a final destination, was changed in Morocco.
It was supposed to be returned to its original departure point - Port Qasim in Pakistan.
The container had been through Nigeria and Oman before it reached Jebel Ali port, where it was seized.
"The traffickers, for an unknown reason, changed the route once the container had reached Tanja [in Morocco] and decided to return it to Pakistan," said Maj Gen Al Mahdi. "The strange route of the container made us suspicious." The container was initially cleared through an X-ray inspection but police decided to search it manually because they had received reliable information it contained drugs.
The heroin was found hidden in wooden pallets, with iron filing sacks on top of it.
A member of the police team noticed there was something strange about the pallets during the officers' search.
"The high-level iron filing made it impossible for the X-ray machines to detect the heroin but we still decided to search it manually," said Maj Gen Al Mahdi.