Dubai Customs foils bid to smuggle 52million drug pills

Included in heist were 4.2 million Tramadol tablets.
Customs, NEWS


Dubai Customs has successfully foiled an attempt by a food and beverages company to smuggle about 52 million drug tablets of restricted use including 4.2 million tablets of Tramadol drug being prohibited by virtue of the Cabinet`s decision No. 15/2011.

Saeed Ahmed Al Tayer, senior director of sea cargo operations, Jebel Ali explained that the seizure took place at Jebel Ali Port and the tablets were found in a container coming from an Asian country.

“This is the second largest prohibited drug smuggling attempt foiled by Customs inspectors this year. It reflects the traffickers’ determination to infiltrate prohibited substances endangering human health without any moral or religious restraint, seeking quick gains,” said Al Tayer.

Al Tayer revealed that the seizure took place after the container arrived in Jebel Ali Port as Dubai Customs received a tip off about the existence of Tramadol tablets in the cargo.

“The container was referred to inspection and passed through container X-Ray Scanner system and when the company’s representative was confronted and questioned about the container contents, he stated that it contains “body building food supplements,” Al Tayer added.

Dubai Customs inspectors` experience, vigilance and high security alert, however, incited them to inspect the container and check its content.

The container was then found to be containing 47.7 million drug tablets of restricted use.

“As Tramadol is a prohibited narcotic substance in the country, the seized goods were detained and the company`s representative was referred to the Anti-Drugs Department at Dubai Police General Headquarters for further investigation,” said Al Tayer.

“A permission from the Ministry of Health must be obtained for restricted drugs, but the company, which carries a license for trading food stuff and beverages only, failed to obtain such permission.

“Dubai Customs inspectors are the cornerstone in preserving the security and safety of Dubai`s land, sea and air ports and so Dubai Customs seeks to qualify the most competent inspectors at its different customs centres and equip them with adequate know-how and skills through specialised training courses aimed at promoting the business and developing inspectors` efficiencies in such a way that will contribute to the protection of the country from prohibited, restricted and counterfeited products.

“Inspectors have a high level of security alert and long experience, enabling them to detect different kinds of contrabands, and use state-of-the-art technological devices for scanning containers and cargoes.

“Tramadol traffickers target in particular students and youth mainly because they are the backbone of development in any society and hence they seek to disrupt such energies, which are capable of building, reward and development."

The Ministerial Decree No (15) 2011 concerning the tables attached to the Federal Law No (14) 1995 (Second Article) regarding the Counter Measures against Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances and its amendments added Tramadol to the list. Therefore, this incident is considered a crime of smuggling prohibited goods pursuant to the Provisions of Article 5/145 of the Common Customs Law for GCC States.

According to medical reports, Tramadol can cause shortness of breath, skeletal muscles relaxation, comma, convulsions, bradycardia, low blood pressure, heart failure and death.

Dubai Customs has recently launched an awareness campaign about the risks of Tramadol, in cooperation with the Health Authority and Dubai Media Incorporated, during the last week of June. The campaign addressed the rise of Tramadol misuse amongst the youth and school students in recent years and the increase in the number of Tramadol seizures made lately; largest of which was made in the second quarter of this year when 91 million Tramadol tablets worth Dh1 billion were seized in a sea cargo coming from an Asian country to the UAE through Jebel Ali Port. .

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