In conjunction with the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on 26th June, Dubai Customs announced its latest seizures in Q1 2019. A total of 421 drug smuggling bids have been foiled across Dubai’s various land, sea and air ports of entry.
The top narcotics seized were tramadol, captagon, opium, heroin, cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine, cannabis seeds, khat, and other drugs.
The biggest illegal drug seizure of Q1 2019 occurred in Jebel Ali Customs Centers in a case that saw a failed attempt to smuggle 5.715 million captagon pills. Airport Passenger Operations made 269 seizures of narcotics, while Land Customs Centers thwarted 98 drug smuggling bids, with 50 more seizures happening in Air Customs Centers, and 3 in Coastal Customs Centers.
Last year, Dubai Customs made 1,105 narcotic seizures. Land Customs Centers had the lion’s share with 528 drug seizures, followed by Airport Passenger Operations with 467 drug confiscations, Air Customs Centers 91, Coastal Customs Centers 15 and Jebel Ali Customs Centers 4 seizures.
The largest drug hauls in 2018 included 10 million tramadol pills, 5 million captagon pills, 13 kg of cocaine, and 26,000 kg of cannabis seeds, all of which were seized by Jebel Ali Customs. In addition to 268 kg of drugs and 57,000 narcotic pills seized in Dubai airports, and 54 kg of drugs stopped by coastal customs.
“The seizures reflect our firm stand against all attempts to smuggle toxic drugs into the UAE,” said H.E Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, Director General of Dubai Customs. “Ridding our community of dangerous drugs and criminals is a mission we take very seriously at Dubai Customs.”
"The major challenge facing us at Dubai Customs is to find a perfect balance between facilitating the movement of huge volumes of trade and passengers coming through Dubai, and protecting local society against the perils of smuggling.
“Thanks to our targeting and risk mitigation model, we are able to meet that challenge with great efficiency,” Musabih explained. “We combine state-of-the-art advance information, risk assessment and shipment tracking technology with highly-skilled, well-trained inspection and intelligence personnel to ensure efficient control of Dubai’s borders and ports of entry. Efficient customs control equals security for our communities and equals security and stability for our national economy.”
“Dubai has transformed itself into an international transit and trade hub that draws millions of travelers and massive volumes of goods. In fact, there has been an upward trend in illicit drug seizures carried out by Dubai Customs over the recent years. Credit is mainly to the vigilance and high sense of security demonstrated by our inspection staff and the efficiency of our smart control and risk assessment systems that outperform even the canniest tricks of smugglers and drug dealers,” noted Dubai Customs Director General.
Dubai Customs has launched a number of initiatives and systems to support its inspectors and facilitate legitimate trade including the Smart Risk Engine which is connected to multiple channels of resources streamlining data on Customs declarations of consignments and individuals as well. The system is managed by Dubai Customs Intelligence Department and is responsible for profiling and analysing such data in order to identify risks and intercept suspected consignments.
The Ship and Trip Smart Tracking System, in place, helps customs people track goods by air and sea to assist in more control of risk management and operations efficiency. It provides tools for inspectors that enable them track routes of suspected trips and flights. The information provided through this system helps plan ahead for these shipments and assess their risks in advance.
Towards the same end, Dubai Customs has also launched a new disruptive berthing service for the vessels using the Dubai Creek (Khor Dubai). The new system: (Smart Vessel Berthing System) will help vessels load and unload their goods with the help of an advanced AI based service. It was built in-house by Dubai Customs employees to facilitate traffic of vessels through the historic waterway.
Dubai Customs has also launched “iDeclare” application which enables passengers into Dubai declare their belongings if needed in only 5 minutes, rather than 45 minutes, which was the average time needed to do the process.
On his part, Abdullah Mohammed Al Khaja, Executive Director of Customer Management Division reaffirmed the highly important role Dubai Customs inspectors play in securing the borders and protecting society from illicit drugs thanks to their dedication and vigilance.
“Our inspection officers use the latest techniques, devices and technologies in the field to prevent any smuggling attempts. It’s our commitment and our duty to protect our society and secure our borders.”
Source: Dubai Customs