Ali Al Maqahwi, Director of Airport Operations at Dubai Customs
Dubai Customs led international efforts to foil a bid to smuggle about 65 kg narcotic drugs seized at Istanbul Airport in Turkey with an Arab passenger coming from Islam Abad tried to mislead customs authorities at Dubai and Istanbul.
Ali Al Maqahwi, Director of Airport Operations at Dubai Customs uncovered the details of the seizure when he said that customs officers at Dubai International Airport suspected 3 bags on the baggage belt designated for a flight arriving in from Islam Abad without being collected by any passenger and left for a long period following the aircraft landing and were subject to precise control.
As part of the on-going cooperation with the strategic stakeholders at Dubai Airports and following investigations, the passenger`s name, the owner of the bags, was identified(Arab National).
The information revealed that the passenger instead of collecting his bags proceeded to the transit lounge and bought a new ticket to Istanbul requesting the transfer of his baggage on the same flight arousing customs inspectors` doubts about the contents of such bags.
When the bags were passed through the scanning device, the images showed medication pills, which later found to be Clonazepam drug listed as part of narcotics drugs and psychotropic substances, which should be treated as prohibited products similar to other kinds of narcotics.
As part of the joint cooperation and coordination between Dubai Customs and Anti-Drugs General Administration at Dubai Police Headquarters, a controlled delivery for the three bags was processed and the information about the passenger and his bags was passed to the competent authorities in Turkey for further inspections processing and to deal with the passenger.
Upon continuous follow-up with the strategic stakeholders at Dubai International Airport and Turkish authorities, the passenger failed to travel to Istanbul on the same flight of his bags and took the next flight in a bid to camouflage Customs officers at Istanbul Airport.
The bags and information about their contents, however, preceded the passenger`s arrival therein through continuous coordination between Dubai and Turkish competent authorities.
As soon as the passenger completed entry and passport procedures along with collecting his bags, was under close control since arriving in the airport without his knowledge until arrested by the competent authorities for further legal actions, according to a letter sent by Turkish authorities informing that the seized narcotic drugs amounted to almost 65 Kg of Clonazepam drug.
Al Maqahwi affirmed that Dubai Customs is keen to combat local and international smuggling of prohibited drugs namely; narcotics that harm the society`s members, relying upon trained cadre enjoying higher efficiency and continuously trained on how to recognize all kinds of drugs including methods of their smuggling and how to deal with such cases.
Al Maqahwi praised the cooperation of the strategic stakeholders at Dubai International Airport headed by Dubai Airports, DNATA and the Anti-Drug General Administration in realizing such international achievement and foiling the smuggling attempt lauding as well Dubai Customs inspectors` alert and their higher national intuition
Worth mentioning, Clonazepam is the scientific name of the drug and its trade name is Rivotril, a drug used mainly for treating epilepsy patients. Further, it is used as a counteractive for unrest, disorders and cases of impatience. The drug, however, is classified as very dangerous in view of its strong composition as its use for longer terms will cause depression, loss of memory, hallucination and increase in weight.