Dubai: Drugs worth millions seized, smuggling attempt foiled using latest technology

Customs adopted an integrated series of procedures and technologies to deter illegal transporting of goods into the country


A Staff Reporter

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Illicit drugs seized. Photo: Supplied
Illicit drugs seized. Photo: Supplied

Published: Sun 30 Jun 2024, 1:29 PM

Last updated: Sun 30 Jun 2024, 10:08 PM

To keep the country free from the scourge of illicit drugs, Dubai Customs announced 1,273 seizures at land, sea and air borders, using drones and other latest technologies that shorten inspection time from 6 hours to only 5 minutes.

On Sunday, the authority said among the drugs seized were tramadol tablets, Captagon, opium, heroin, cannabis seeds, marijuana, restricted narcotic drugs, and others.

Rashid Al-Dhabbah Al-Suwaidi, acting director of Sea Customs Management, said the total seizure reports during the past year amounted to 3,735, including 1,273 drug seizures.

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Mohammed Abdullah Al-Suwaidi, senior manager of intelligence operations in Dubai Customs, said they also helped an Asian country seize up to 700 kilograms of 'Methamphetamine' powder valued at approximately $310 million, which were concealed within a cargo ship. The cargo ship and narcotics were seized, and this seizure stands as the second-largest drug confiscation ever made in this country.

Adel Al Suwaidi, director of the Technical Support Department at Dubai Customs, said they adopt an integrated series of procedures and technologies to deter all the smuggling attempts, starting with the “early warning” technology represented by the Smart Risk Engine to help identify all suspicious shipments in advance, to inspection operations, where various inspection methods such as the manual inspection, the X-ray scanning, or sniffer dogs K9 are applied.

“Dubai Customs has equipped the Jebel Ali and Tecom Customs Center with a first-of-its-kind advanced system in the world for inspecting heavy and light vehicles, equipment, and yachts through X-ray scanning. This system allows the centre to double its inspection operations and accelerate procedures, supporting the smooth flow of business and trade and enhancing the position of Jebel Ali Port as the largest port in the Middle East and one of the most important ports globally, as the device shortens inspection time from approximately 6 hours manually to only 5 minutes,” he said.

Siyaj System

Siyaj is a smart and integrated security system to monitor customs ports in Dubai. The system is based on several modern technologies such as AI, binocular technique, drones, eco-friendly electric cars, and unique devices to detect contraband and dangerous substances.

It's based on rapid intervention teams that work around the clock, drones, and the K9 dog unit section that supports targeting and field inspection operations within the Customs campus. It's based on several connected units such as advanced technological systems, a centralized database that is periodically updated, examination and inspection devices, high-quality cameras covering all parts of the customs campus, sensors, and radars to control the movement of goods for analysis and suspicion, and a boat equipped with advanced systems able to monitor ships' entry into the ports as a pre-emptive action to report any risks that ship may be carrying.

Most prominent seizures

In a qualitative operation called “Cockpit”, Dubai Customs managed to thwart the smuggling of 234.68 kilograms of hashish and prevent it from being trafficked into the UAE.

While explaining the details, Dubai Customs revealed that one of the dhows (wooden ships) came to the Creek Customs Center and Deira Port was suspected. The ship was subjected to a thorough inspection process in which the “endoscope” technology was used.

An endoscope is a device designed to inspect confined spaces and has the potential to provide a high-quality image in the dark in order to detect prohibited items. During the inspection process, narcotic drugs were found hidden in a new and professional manner inside the ship's cockpit.


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