Dubai Customs has foiled a bid to smuggle 500,000 pills of Captagon narcotics at the Jebel Ali Port, weighing about 11kg and worth over Dh15 million.
According to a senior official, the case unfolded this week during a routine inspection of a container heading from an Arab state to a neighboring country as Customs inspectors suspected a textile cargo of 77 rolls.
Omar Ahmad Al Muhairi, Senior Manager of Air Cargo Operations at Dubai Customs, said unusual lumpiness was detected at some parts of the fabric samples of the cargo when scanned with the x-ray machine. “A haul of pills were then found concealed amidst the sides of 14 of the 77 fabrics rolls.”
The Customs K9-dog squad was brought onto the scene along with an advanced mobile lab which both confirmed that the seized pills were a contraband identified as Captagon, locally known as Abu Hilalein, meaning Of Two Parentheses. “As many as 500,000 pills of Captagon narcotics, weighing about 11kg and worth over Dh15 million, were found in this seizure,” Al Muhairi said.
“Dubai Customs busted an attempt to smuggle 91 million Captagon pills in a marine cargo heading from an Asian country to the Jebel Ali Port in the second quarter of 2012. “These are added to two earlier attempts in September and December 2011 to smuggle 13,629 Captagon pills in the first and 800 others in the second,” he added.
Al Muhairi indicated that Captagon, which was invented in the early 1960s, is popular as a recreational drug in some Arab countries despite being banned worldwide. “Captagon drug is one of the most dangerous chemical narcotics and has the same impact of cocaine. Drug dealers tend to produce the contraband since no farms or manual labor is required in the production process.”
Al Muhairi said drug smugglers mostly try smart and new techniques in their dirty work. “They sometimes conceal drugs and other contraband in luggage, wallets, socks, hand bags, clothes, shoes, inner guts, cigarettes, and even underwear, but our vigilant inspectors – who are intensively trained and equipped with most sophisticated scanning devices – shall always be ready for them.”