Major General Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri at a press conference in Dubai.
Hamza M. Sengendo, Staff Reporter
Dubai Police intercepted two international drug smuggling gangs, arrested 16 Asians and seized 365 kilogrammes of drugs worth Dhs278.05 million in Operation “Stalker,” police announced on Monday.
“The Antinarcotics Department netted two drug smuggling gangs in the largest drug haul in UAE’s history,” said Dubai Police Commander-in-Chief Maj. Gen. Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri during a press briefing at the police headquarters.
He commended the paramount role of the UAE Leadership in encouraging antinarcotics bodies and police at large. Police seized 268kg heroin worth Dhs134m, crystal meth worth Dhs144m and 1kg hashish worth Dhs50, 000.
The gangs had smuggled the contraband into the country after stashing in car spare parts. They had stored the seized drugs in Sharjah, Ajman and Umm Al Quwain, and were “planning to peddle some of the poison among the youth in the country.”
The gangs were so secretive in a manner that posed a challenge to authorities. There was insufficient information about their activities. They were skillful, having secret storage rooms and hiding spots spread all around the country.
Also, the gang members were communicating using personal channels and their activities were being masterminded from outside the country. This, coupled with the fact that they did not know each other except through secret codes.
“Despite all this,” stressed Maj. Gen. Al Marri, “Dubai Police antinarcotics personnel were able through their professional performance to bust the gangs and seize the three drug types with a total market value of Dhs278, 050, 000.”
The Assistant Commander-in-Chief for Criminal Investigation Major General Khalil Ibrahim Al Mansouri said, “The achievement was reached thanks to efforts of an intergraded task force established by the commander-in-chief.”
The Antinarcotics Department Deputy Director, Colonel Khaled Bin Muweiza said the operational level was divided into two parts: Stalker 001 and Stalker 002.
Gang leader posing as cleaner
“Stalker 001 in its initial stages required increased efforts to search, investigate, monitor and follow-up besides sleepless nights to trace the movements of the gang members around the clock for more than three months,” he said.
Police received an alert that an international drug smuggling and peddling gang member managed to bring a quantity of narcotic and psychotropic substances into the UAE under directives he was getting from abroad.
Investigators discovered six Asian men (one of them from a different country) set up two groups covering up their criminal acts behind false titles: cleaners, employees of private companies and maintenance workers.
The ring leader was an experienced narcotics trafficker who resides in the country posing as a cleaner. All evidence confirmed that he was in constant co-ordination with a top drug dealer residing in his home country.
The execution phase lasted about 15 days starting from Jan.26. Cops arrested members of the first group near their residence in Sharjah as the third one received a bag containing 4.2kg of heroin from the first and second.
In a concurrent move, another police team nabbed the first and second suspects in the second group at a Sharjah building where they stayed. The third was netted at the Sharjah International Airport fleeing to his homeland.
The total weight of seized drugs clocked 118kg, comprising 47kg of heroin and 71kg of meth. The perpetrators had smuggled it into the UAE and stored it in Sharjah and Ajman using professional methods difficult to detect.
As for “Stalker 002,” the arrest of the above suspects disclosed their secret method of hiding drugs in spare parts inside warehouses. Their cohorts were operating under a mastermind living abroad. Police traced the source of the spare parts.
Close and constant surveillance of the cohorts’ movements helped Dubai Police arrest all of them inside a car workshop in an industrial area and near their places of residence in co-ordination with Sharjah Police’s antinarcotics authorities.
Cops inspected the workshop, apartments of suspects and their stores and landed on a huge quantity of drugs. They landed on quantities of meth and hashish at a location in Umm Al Quwain where one of the gang members had buried it.
A total of 247kg of drugs, including 211kg of heroin, 35kg of crystal meth and 1kg of hashish were seized, in addition to more than Dhs39, 000 and $7,400 in cash and two cars containing large quantities of drugs intended for peddling.
A specialised team from the Dubai Police General Department of Transport and Rescue helped dismantle the equipment used in smuggling drugs and unveil their contents. The conference was graced by high-calibre police officers.
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