Dubai police arrest key member of drug trafficking gang in ‘Operation Sugar Cane’

Dubai police have arrested a prominent member of a cross-border organized crime network who smuggles drugs into sugar shipments, the state news agency (WAM) reported on Thursday.

The gang, whose other members were detained in European countries, smuggled drugs between South America and Europe and operated labs in Europe to separate cocaine from sugar after trafficking it.

Dubai Police arrested key gang member MD while he was carrying out Operation Sugar Cane coordinated between the General Department of Counter-Narcotics Dubai and the Anti-Narcotics Departments of France, Spain and Colombia.

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The operation, which was carried out on May 5 by all countries at the scheduled zero hour, succeeded in busting the network, arresting 18 members and confiscating 22 tons of sugar mixed with cocaine smuggled into a cargo shipped from Colombia to the port of Le Havre. in France.

Brigadier Eid Mohammed Thani Hareb, head of the General Narcotics Department, said investigations into the gang began about a year ago.

The gang created fake shipping and trading companies that operate between South America and Europe during the coronavirus pandemic, Hareb said, adding that he claimed to ship food to Europe through the French port of Haven.

French police and customs soon realized, however, that the shipments from these companies contained cocaine, he said.

The authorities thus began to monitor the shipments of sugar that contained cocaine and were shipped from Colombia to France and Spain and to monitor the movements of gang members.

Ten of the gang members were arrested in Paris, Cannes, Meudon and Lyon in France, seven were arrested in Madrid and Barcelona in Spain and a key member was arrested by Dubai police.

According to Hareb, the 22 tons of confiscated sugar were packed in 900 bags and contained between 3 and 15 percent mixed cocaine.

Hareb also said the gang was behind smuggling 12 tons of tobacco into Belgium in August 2021 and laundering money worth millions of euros.

Dubai Police Commander-in-Chief Abdullah Khalifa al-Marri reaffirmed the UAE’s commitment to fighting cross-border organized crime and noted that determining zero hour to execute the operation was critical to the success of the operation.

Marri added that MD was arrested after Dubai’s General Narcotics Department closely monitored him based on information shared with French authorities.

Major General Khabir Khalil Ibrahim Al Mansoori, deputy commander of criminal investigations, said the operation also included the exchange of security information with anti-narcotics departments in the United States, United Kingdom and other countries. other European countries.

The inspector general of the anti-narcotics department in France, Stephanie Cherbonnier, hailed the outstanding role of the Dubai police in the fight against organized crime and its contribution to the elimination of the gang, the report adds.

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Rachel J. Bradford