Dubai: 2,600 drug smuggling bids thwarted by Customs in 3 years

Authority recently introduced groundbreaking system for inspecting heavy and light vehicles, large equipment, yachts, and containers using state-of-the-art X-ray scanning technology


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Published: Sun 25 Jun 2023, 6:04 PM

Dubai Customs has reported a significant achievement in combating drug abuse and illicit trafficking as it commemorates the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on June 26 each year.

Over the past three years (2020-2021-2022), Dubai Customs successfully thwarted more than 2,600 attempts to smuggle drugs, reflecting its strategic commitment to combat the trafficking of prohibited and high-risk substances.

This achievement aligns with Dubai Customs' vision of being a leading secure customs authority globally, contributing to local, regional, and global security and stability. The UAE's security stability is a crucial advantage that attracts investments, ensuring societal safety, economic prosperity, and consolidating the UAE's reputation as one of the safest countries globally. The drug seizures were distributed as follows: 829 seizures in 2020, 941 seizures in 2021, and 834 seizures in 2022.

Ahmed Mahboub Musabih, Director-General of Dubai Customs and CEO of Ports, Customs, and Free Zone Corporation, emphasised that Dubai Customs, with its extensive expertise and proficient operational teams in combating drug abuse locally, regionally, and globally, stands as a key supporter of the efforts of the Drug Control Council in the UAE.

He expressed his satisfaction that Dubai Customs prioritises safeguarding society from the perils and risks of prohibited and smuggled substances, fulfilling its vital role as the foremost defence in protecting the community.

Dubai has emerged as a global exemplar in effectively combating the dangers and health hazards associated with drugs. A key contributor to these commendable endeavors is Dubai Customs, which proactively enhances the skills of its human resources, specifically customs officers, adhering to the highest standards of customs inspection. This unwavering commitment ensures the emirate's prominent status as an international trade hub while steadfastly pursuing its economic agenda, D33.

Moreover, customs officers diligently fulfill their patriotic responsibility by thwarting the smuggling of hazardous and prohibited substances. Recognising the significance of continuous development, Dubai Customs prioritises equipping its customs inspectors with specialized and innovative training programs encompassing body language interpretation and comprehensive knowledge of various forms and classifications of drugs.

Adel Al-Suwaidi, Director of Technical Support at Dubai Customs, highlights the government department's ongoing commitment to sustainable investments in advanced systems and supporting devices for effective examination and inspection. Dubai Customs has recently introduced a groundbreaking system at Jebel Ali Customs Centre and TECOM, setting a global standard for inspecting heavy and light vehicles, large equipment, yachts, and containers using state-of-the-art X-ray scanning technology. This cutting-edge system, tailored to Dubai Customs' specifications, allows for the scanning of vehicles and equipment up to dimensions of 5.9 meters by 5.5 meters. Operating in both stationary and mobile modes, it can accurately detect and locate radioactive materials, identify customs declarations through container numbers, and enhance inspection capabilities with the innovative "Siyaj Buggy" for comprehensive underside vehicle and truck inspections. With high-resolution imaging, recording, and storage capabilities, a 360-degree imaging range, and a control range of up to 30 meters, the system significantly strengthens Dubai Customs' overall inspection framework. Complementing these efforts, the Customs K9 Unit provides invaluable support to maritime, land, and air customs centres.

Dubai Customs' Inspection Sector has shared details about remarkable seizures in terms of both quantity and nature that have taken place across all entry points in Dubai over the past three years.

Noteworthy among these is a seizure at the airport, where an astounding 36.76 kilogrammes of marijuana were intercepted. Likewise, a significant quantity of 75,000 Captagon tablets was seized at the land border crossing.

Rashid Al-Dhabbah Al-Suwaidi, Acting Director of Sea Customs Management, unveiled a series of significant seizures made by Dubai Customs in their unwavering efforts to combat drug trafficking. These operations resulted in the seizure of 3 million Captagon tablets and 1.5 tonnes of Captagon powder. Notably, during a meticulously executed operation called "Operation Sul," Customs inspectors successfully uncovered over 1.59 million concealed Captagon tablets hidden within the hulls of two wooden vessels. This operation posed a challenge for inspectors and the Customs K9 Unit, as the drugs were cleverly concealed using hull coatings to evade detection.


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