Five arrested in Dubai for Middle Eastern drug syndicate ring
:: Security authorities in the United Arab Emirates have conducted a major anti-narcotics operation with their Australian and Dutch counterparts busting two crime syndicates, the Dubai Media Office said on Tuesday.
The operation was an international bust involving almost two tons of MDMA (also known as ecstasy), cocaine, and crystal methamphetamine.
Police in Dubai, Australia and the Netherlands arrested a total of 17 people involved in two interlinked Middle Eastern crime syndicates, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) told Reuters.
The simultaneous operations resulted in the arrest of nine men and a woman in Sydney on Tuesday while five men were detained in the UAE by Dubai police.
“International cooperation in the fight against drugs is one of the main pillars of the work strategies of the General Directorate of Narcotics at Dubai Police,” said Maj General Abdullah Khalifa Al Merri, Dubai Police Chief, as quoted by the Dubai Media Office in a tweet earlier.
Authorities in the Netherlands arrested two men alleged to have been responsible for arranging the supply of drugs to an Australian-based syndicate.
“The people we allege are part of this syndicate are Middle Eastern organized crime figures that are well-known to law enforcement, and for decades this group has flaunted their wealth and activities, telling the community they were untouchable,” AFP assistant commissioner Neil Gaughan said in a statement from Sydney.
“Today, it should be obvious that they are not,” he said.
Police raided 32 homes in Sydney and issued 52 warrants on Tuesday in what they said was one of the biggest attacks on organized crime in Australian history, according to an AFP spokesman.
The investigation began in mid-2016, targeting organized crime groups attempting to import large quantities of drugs and tobacco, according to authorities.
A container of drugs was seized in the Netherlands in July which was allegedly bound for Australia in shipping containers, the AFP spokesman said.
A total of 1.8 tons of MDMA, 136kg of cocaine and 15kg of crystal methamphetamine were seized by authorities in the Netherlands, Australian police said.
The AFP estimated the value of the drugs at up to $642 million (A$810 million) if sold on the streets in Australia.