Jebel Ali customs officers foil Tramadol smuggling plot
Eagle-eyed customs officers at Dubai's Jebel Ali Port have foiled an attempt to smuggle 91 million Tramadol tablets disguised as cosmetics into the emirate.
The haul, worth Dhs1 billion, was in 12 massive metal containers that contained 1,695 cartons of the drugs, which are only allowed to be taken on prescription in the UAE.
Customs officials believe the Tramadol, which can cause death if misused, was destined for sale on the streets of the UAE.
A customs spokesman said: “The drug can generate effects similar to those of cocaine and leads to addiction which will force the addict to double the dose to reach for the desired effect. This, in turn, can lead to heart attacks and death.”
Officers were suspicious about the contents of the boxes logged in the Customs e-Clearance system as cosmetics and medical equipment.
The pills arrived from various Asian ports in three shipments, all addressed to a company operating out of Jebel Ali Free Zone.
The director of cargo ops at Jebel Ali, Saeed Ahmed Al Tayer, said customs has been tracking the activities of the company. When officers discovered the containers were full of pills, the cartons were resealed and a sample sent to the Ministry of Health (MoH) for analysis.
The MoH confirmed the drug is listed as a prohibited opiate forbidden from use without a medical prescription. The ministry report also confirmed that the import firm was not licensed to import medicines or store pharmaceuticals.
The customs spokesman said: “It was clear the intention was to sell this drug in large quantities on the local market.”
The pills have been destroyed.