2.5-tonne drug haul nets 14
in Sharjah

SHARJAH — The Sharjah police have smashed an international drug smuggling ring and seized 2.5 tonnes of hashish from 14 men who were planning to smuggle the contraband across the Eastern coast of the UAE.

The 12 Iranian and two Pakistani suspects were arrested by a squad code-named the ‘Eastern Wind’ late on Wednesday in the second biggest haul of drugs in recent memory.

The police posse were assisted by the Coast Guard. Sharjah Police Chief Major-General Humaid Al Hadidi said this is the biggest haul in 20 years, the last being the recovery of three tonnes of hashish, also from the Khofakkan coast, in 1991.

Speaking to reporters here,  the Sharjah police chief said the drugs were stuffed in bags used to pack cooking flour. ‘‘The 14 gang members were on a  boat at the time of arrest and they attempted to flee, but we managed to cordon off the area and stopped them in their tracks,” he said.

Major-General Al Hadidi said a tip-off was received from a source that an international gang was hiding the drugs on a boat and the gang members were waiting for an opportunity to slip past UAE territorial waters.

“After confirming the information, we formed an investigation team from the anti-narcotics department. One of our officials posed as a buyer and contacted the head of the gang members several times to strike a deal. The date and time was set for the exchange. The police team then got into action to swarm the boat and round-up the smugglers.’’

Major-General Al Hadidi lauded his police force for their efforts, adding that he was filled with a sense of pride.

He also dedicated the success of the operation to His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qassimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, and to Lt  General Shaikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Interior and Deputy Prime Minister – khaleejtimes