Drug law enforcement officials in Qatar have busted an Asian drug ring thought to be the biggest in the region. Major Ahmed Al-Hareeb, head of Qatar's drug enforcement division, said 11 Asians and two Qataris were arrested.
Police found 80 kilograms of Hashish, two kilograms of Opium and some Heroin.
Under Qatar laws and in most Gulf countries, punishment for drug trafficking is death or life imprisonment and a fine ranging from 200,000 to 500,000 riyal ($1 = 3.6 riyal).
Police carried out eight raids on the ring and arrested its members in the act of selling drugs, Al-Hareeb said. "They were caught red-handed," Al-Hareeb said. He said there was a brief exchange of gunfire but no one was hurt.
The group was put under surveillance after police were tipped off that Asian nationalists were trying to distribute drugs in Qatar.
The Gulf area provides fertile ground for drug trafficking and drug-dealing.
The various nationalities living here, the high standard of living, and the fact that people have money to spend, all attract drug dealers to the region.
Drug enforcement in Qatar has succeeded in controlling drug trafficking but has not been able to root it out altogether, Al-Hareeb said. One of the main problems the police face is that drugs are smuggled across the long coastal areas of the Gulf.
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