DUBAI - Customs has foiled an attempt to smuggle more than 170kg of cocaine – worth Dhs200 million – into the UAE hidden in a shipment of bananas. The seizure of the 171.2 kg of cocaine is one of the largest of its kind in the country in the past five years, said customs. However, they did not disclose when the operation took place.
The drugs were hidden in a cargo of 45 tonnes of bananas coming from an unnamed Latin American country via Europe. The drugs were seized after the shipment reached Jebel Ali Port.
The cocaine was intended for distribution inside the UAE, customs said. “Our department was working closely with the inspection centre in Jebel Ali [port] to gather, analyse and follow up on the information until we were able to foil the smuggling of a large amount drugs and thus prevent it from entering the local market,” said Ahmed Al Kharousi, head of the custom intelligence at Dubai Customs.
“The smugglers had intended to take advantage of the coming festive season to sell their drugs.”
The cocaine was hidden in the banana boxes, customs said, and several methods had been used to try to stop the drugs from being detected.
“They tried to paint the packages with an organic material in the belief that this would not be discovered,” said Al Kharousi.
Seven Days in Dubai/Sept. 25, 2014
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