11 Muharram 1446 - 17 July 2024
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Eye of Riyadh
Government | Sunday 30 June, 2024 9:14 am |

Dubai Customs Cracks Down on Drug Smuggling: 1,273 Seizures Show Commitment to Global Security

On the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, which is observed on 26th June every year, Dubai Customs announced 1,273 drug seizures at border ports of the Emirate of Dubai (land, sea, air, and passenger operations). These included Tramadol tablets, Captagon, opium, heroin, cannabis seeds, marijuana, restricted narcotic drugs, and other drugs. Dubai Customs is making further efforts to combat all forms of smuggling, especially narcotics, through its customs ports, to protect the community and the national economy from its negative effects by countering smuggling attempts.


Port Security


Mansoor Al Malik, executive director for policies and legislation Division at Dubai Customs, confirmed that "the Department has prioritized protecting the community from narcotics and contraband, and its five-year plan 2021-2026 has included a major strategic goal to lead safe customs worldwide. This mission has been given tremendous priority given the increasing threats, in commitment to its national duty, and its belief in the great harm of drugs to the security and health of individuals and society. He also stressed that "the department is committed to cooperating fully with strategic partners from the security authorities to thwart any attempt to smuggle drugs to achieve the objectives of the Dubai Council's Objectives for Border Port Security and Continuous Development Operations aimed at enhancing the emirate's security capabilities in protecting border ports". These efforts come in line with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. These directives aim to enhance the performance of government agencies responsible for supervising and improving border ports and ensuring their competitiveness at the regional and international levels.


An International Model


Rashid Al-Dhabbah Al-Suwaidi, Acting Director of Sea Customs Management, said that the Emirate of Dubai has become an international model in countering drugs and their risks and health damages. Dubai Customs actively participates in such efforts by developing its human capital, especially customs officers, according to the best standards in customs inspection, to maintain the emirate's position as an international hub for global trade and the safest city in the world, the total seizure reports during the past year amounted to 3735, including 1273 drug seizures. He indicated that Dubai Customs is characterized by the efficiency of inspection officers, and we are proud that the Emiratization rate in this sector is 100%. We seek to expedite customs procedures for commercial shipments to strengthen Dubai's pivotal role in global trade. We also firmly counter the different ways of smuggling drugs.


Efficiency of Inspectors


Ibrahim Al Kamali, Director of the Passenger Operations Department, said: "Dubai Customs is keen to stay up to date with the global development in inspection devices, as the Department has provided its customs centers with the latest devices supporting inspections, including visceral inspection devices. The Department is actively keen to develop the efficiency of customs inspectors by organizing intensive training courses to train them on the best scientific and practical skills that help them detect and counter attempts to smuggle drugs. Inspectors at airports have advanced capabilities to detect drug smuggling attempts through inspection and monitoring with advanced inspection devices at airports, in addition to the high skill and ability to read the body language of people who try to smuggle drugs by hiding them in the bowels or hiding them in new ways in their luggage and bags. The staff of the Passenger Operations Department perform their duties in the best way to facilitate the movement of passengers and arrest smugglers.


Leading Inspection Systems  


The Director of the Technical Support Department, Eng. Adel Al Suwaidi said “Dubai Customs adopts an integrated series of procedures and technologies to deter all the smuggling attempts, starting with the “early warning” technology represented by the Smart Risk Engine to help identify all suspicious shipments in advance, to inspection operations, where various inspection methods (such as the manual inspection, the X-ray scanning, or sniffer dogs K9) are applied. Dubai Customs has equipped the Jebel Ali & TECOM Customs Center with a first-of-its-kind advanced system in the world for inspecting heavy and light vehicles, equipment, and yachts through X-ray scanning. This system allows the center to double its inspection operations and accelerate procedures, supporting the smooth flow of business and trade and enhancing the position of Jebel Ali Port as the largest port in the Middle East and one of the most important ports globally, as the device shortens inspection time from approximately 6 hours manually to only 5 minutes.


Cross-Border Crimes


Mohammed Abdullah Al-Suwaidi, Senior Manager of Intelligence Operations in Dubai Customs, confirmed that within the Department's efforts to combat cross-border organized crime. Dubai Customs has enabled many customs authorities worldwide to thwart attempts to smuggle drugs. The international customs administrations praise the vital role of Dubai Customs in reducing drug smuggling globally. Its ability to combat local and global customs risks reducing smuggling and harming communities and youth. Among these seizures, Dubai Customs helped an Asian country seize up to 700 kilograms of "Methamphetamine" powder valued at approximately $310 million, which were concealed within a cargo ship, where the cargo ship and narcotics were seized, and this seizure stands as the second-largest drug confiscation ever made in this country.


Siyaj System 


Siyaj is a smart and integrated security system to monitor customs ports in the Emirate of Dubai. The system is based on several Modern technologies such as AI, binocular technique, drones, Eco-friendly electric cars, and unique devices to detect contraband and dangerous substances. It's based on rapid intervention teams that work around the clock, drones, and the K9 dog unit section that supports targeting and field inspection operations within the Customs campus. The initiative will enhance Dubai and the UAE’s security and support the stability and protection of society from security and health risks by controlling the movement of goods and commodities and detecting and tracking smugglers and facilitate trade operations and support the global supply chain to establish Dubai's leading position in legitimate trade. It's based on several connected units such as advanced technological systems, a centralized database that is periodically updated, examination and inspection devices, high-quality cameras covering all parts of the customs campus, sensors, and radars to control the movement of goods for analysis and suspicion, and a boat equipped with advanced systems able to monitor ships' entry into the ports as a pre-emptive action to report any risks that the ship may be carrying.


The Most Prominent Seizures


In a qualitative operation called “Cockpit”, Dubai Customs managed to thwart the smuggling of 234.68 kilograms of narcotic drugs "hashish" and prevent them from being successfully trafficked into UAE. The details of the incident can be summarized in the following words. One of the dhows (wooden ships) coming to the Creek Customs Center and Deira Port was suspected. With the accumulated experience and qualitative skills of Dubai Customs inspectors, the ship was subjected to a thorough inspection process in which the “endoscope” technology was used. An endoscope is a device designed to inspect confined spaces and has potential to provide a high-quality image in the dark in order to detect prohibited items. During the inspection process, narcotic drugs were found hidden in a new and professional manner inside the ship cockpit.


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