Dubai – Five Australian suspects arrested in Dubai as part of a multinational efforts against two drug trafficking organisations who were under surveillance for “about a year” and did not resist arrest, according to Major General Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri, Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police.
The five men were among 17 arrested in nearly simultaneous raids in Australia, Dubai and the Netherlands earlier this week. The suspects are all believed to be involved in the large-scale smuggling of various narcotics into Australia.
According to Al Marri, the Dubai arrests are a sign of the “strong cooperation” with anti-narcotics agencies abroad, and were only taken after careful deliberation and cooperation with their counterparts in the Australian Federal Police (AFP).
Al Marri added that, after receiving information that the men had ties to drug trafficking activities, the Dubai Police put them under surveillance for “about a year”. After working with police in Australia and the Netherlands, Dubai Police and their counterparts abroad launched raids against all the suspects at a pre-established ‘Zero Hour’.
Al Marri noted that the five men arrested in Dubai were all in possession of valid UAE visas and were not found to be involved in drug trafficking or promotion in the UAE. They did, however, have ties to drug trafficking groups in Australia, the Netherlands and Colombia.
The suspects, Al Marri added, were referred to the public prosecution and the concerned authorities are now taking the necessary legal action as per international agreements to extradite them to Australia.
In a separate interview with Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald, Al Marri said the men did not resist arrest when Dubai Police officers swooped down on two locations in Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT) and Dubai Marina.
One of the suspects – identified by the AFP as Koder Jomaa – runs a food outlet called Fit Food Kitchen in JLT.
When asked by the Australian paper if he was concerned that drug trafficking proceeds were being laundered through Dubai-based businesses, Al Marri said “I don’t think so, no.”
Performing a multinational operation such as the one that netted the suspects is “not easy”, Al Marri told the SMH.
“It’s been amazing, for the first time to have such cooperation between three continents, Europe, the Gulf and Australia, but this is not easy,” he noted. “It was very good communication and this operation should prove that.”
“We had at least three meetings a week prior to the Zero Hour,” he added.
This isn’t the first time that the UAE and Australia have worked together to bring down drug trafficking organisations.
In August 2015, for example, the Dubai Police and the AFP foiled a bid to smuggle 145kg of heroin worth more than Dh10 million. The operation – codenamed ‘Golden Beach’ – resulted in the seizure of a ship in international waters off Tanzania and the arrest of 16 suspects.
In another operation in June 2014, UAE authorities worked with US and Australian law enforcement to seize over 1,000kg of heroin that was being transported in a dhow off the coast of Africa.
Source: Khaleej Times