Al Mazina: U.A.E. authorities contributed to record breaking seizure of 1,032 kg of heroin

DUBAI: A senior U.A.E. police official has said U.A.E. anti-narcotic authorities contributed to the successful seizure of a record-breaking 1,023 kg of heroin in April onbaord a dhow off the coast of Africa, the largest ever amount of heroin seized from a vessel on the high seas, when they shared confirmed intelligence on the illegal haul with the U.S. and Australian consulates in Dubai.

“The success of Operation Ocean Coast is attributed to intelligence gathered by one of the sources of the General Department of Anti-Narcotics of the Dubai Police and relayed on 17 April to the liaison officer of U.S. Consulate in Dubai and later on confirmed on 21 April in another letter to the same officer with precise description of the smugglers’ dhow and its route. The intelligence led a Royal Australian Navy (RAN) frigate deployed under the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) in the Indian Ocean to intercept and board the dhow off the East African coast and seize 1,023 kg of heroin onboard. The heroin consignment was en route from an Asian country to an African country,” said General Khamis Mattar Al Mazina, Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police, Thursday at a press conference following the conclusion of the two-day 5th International Conference on Drug Discovery and Therapy.

The heroin smugglers, all Asian nationals, were arrested by the Australian frigate crew members in Operation Ocean Coast which has become the largest ever made by Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), a 30-nation naval partnership based in Bahrain, which exists to promote security, stability and prosperity across approximately 2.5 million square miles of international waters, which encompass some of the world s most important shipping lanes.

Al Mazina emphasised that the success of the said counter-narcotics operation is testament to the excellent experience and capabilities of Dubai anti-narcotic officers and showcases the importance of the role of the relevant U.A.E. authorities overseen by H.H. Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior.

On 26 April, CMF said Australian warship HMAS Darwin attached to its Combined Task Force 150 (CTF-150), pinpointed the dhow and seized 1,023 kg of heroin on a dhow intercepted about 27 nautical miles east of Mombasa on 23 April.

“According to records kept by the UN, the 1,032 kilogram haul not only represents the largest ever amount of heroin seized from dhows on the high seas, but doubles the previous record which was also set by CTF 150 in 2013,” CMF quoted Hakan Demirbuken, Programme Management Officer at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), as saying.

Later in 16 May, CMF said its HMAS Darwin made another major seizure of illegal narcotics in international waters, off the East African coast, when it intercepted a dhow carrying 449 kg of heroin.