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Home Out of the Box Amphetamines of US$1 billion seized in Jebel Ali

Amphetamines of US$1 billion seized in Jebel Ali

Dubai police seized US$1 billion of fenethylline, a type of amphetamine commonly sold as Captagon. The drugs, in the form of 86 million tablets weighing 13 tonnes, were hidden in five container shipments of doors and decorative panels in a container that arrived in Jebel Ali port earlier this month.

The bust comes as amphetamine sales have become a scourge in the Middle East during Syria’s long war. It was one of the Dubai police’s largest raids involving fenethylline. Many of the largest hauls in the Persian Gulf in recent years have been traced to Syria, where syndicates have opened large factories to produce the drug.

Video footage released by the Interior Ministry in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) shows suspects, believed to be part of a criminal syndicate, trying to bring the Captagon tablets through Jebel Ali port.

Acting on a tip-off, the police identified the suspicious containers, which were to be transhipped through Jebel Ali.

Anti-Narcotics Department director Eid Mohammed Thani said, “The containers [were] loaded with furniture such as doors and decorations panels. The containers [were] scanned with an X-ray with the help of a K9 unit.”

A suspect was singled out and monitored until he came to Jebel Ali to collect three containers. The suspect was nabbed as he was about to move the containers to an industrial area.

Police officers transported the three containers to the industrial area where two other suspects were arrested.

Two more suspects were detained as they came to Jebel Ali to collect the last two containers.

Thani said, “They admitted planning to transport the containers to a warehouse in a neighbouring emirate.”

The police then transported the two containers and nabbed a sixth suspect as he was unloading the doors and panels.

In all, in an operation spanning days, 651 doors and 432 panels were dismantled by police officers, using cutters and hydraulic equipment. The drugs were eventually extracted from the items.

Martina Li
Asia Correspondent

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