Dubai Customs find tonne of ‘salted drugs’ in animal gut

By Angel Chan

Foiled 4.4+ a day smuggling bids in 2017

DUBAI 21 February 2018: Dubai Customs made 1,628 seizures last year against 1,347 in 2016, recording a 21 per cent increase. This works out to 4.4+ seizures a day.

The Department of Passenger Operations at the airport had the lion’s share with 859 seizures, followed by Land Customs Centres Management with 699, Air Customs Centres Management with 58, Jebel Ali Customs Centres with nine, and Coastal Customs Centre Management with three, said Wam.

Providing intensive training to Dubai Customs officers and equipping the centres with the latest inspection equipment were among the reasons behind this achievement.

The major “White Salt” seizure showed the alertness of Dubai Customs officers and reflected the importance of cooperation and coordination between the Department, the Ministry of Interior and Dubai Police.

The smuggler concealed huge amounts of Captagon pills in animal guts and wrapped them in salt. Screening detected different density in the barrels that carried the stuff. More than a tonne of pills were discovered.

Another contraband saw officers of Jebel Ali Customs Centre seize 12 kg of opium.

“Dubai is leading the way internationally in combating any attempts of smuggling to protect society from the hazards of drugs. Dubai Customs plays an essential role in this by continually developing its human capital according to the highest inspection standards,” said Sultan bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO of DP World and Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation.

“Dubai Customs regularly updates its systems and inspection devices, which helps the Dubai International Airport top the world airports for four years in a row in terms of the number of international passengers – 88.2 million in 2017,” he added.

Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, Director of Dubai Customs, said that the Risk Engine, which was developed by Dubai Customs, made major contributions. He said that the Risk Engine system is fed with information on cargo from many channels. The ‘Risk Engine’, developed 100 percent in-house, is a smart system connected to multiple channels of resources streamlining data on customs declarations of consignments and individuals as well. The system is managed by Dubai Customs Intelligence Department, and is responsible for profiling and analysing data in order to identify risks and intercept suspected consignments.

The system contributes to the expediting of clearing risk-free transactions, which in return gives Dubai Customs the luxury of efficient services to its clients, facilitating legitimate trade and deterring potential illicit trade practices. Another innovation is Al Kashif Inspection Smart Vehicle, the first of its kind in the world. The cart is equipped with 16 devices, making it capable of detecting various narcotics, inflammable and radioactive materials, and explosives. The eco-friendly golf buggy can also analyse medication samples in seven minutes. Dubai Customs regularly updates its officers with the different types of narcotics and trains them on how best to do their job, and this includes courses in body language and communication skills.

Abdullah Mohammed Al Khaja, Executive Director of Clients Management Division, said that the biggest challenge that Dubai Customs has faced and overcome in the previous years has been striking a balance between facilitating passenger and goods traffic and at the same time preventing attempts of smuggling.