Saudi, UAE agents bust heroin network: ministry

The gang specialized in the smuggling of raw heroin from the United Arab Emirates to the kingdom

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Saudi and United Arab Emirates security agents have disrupted a heroin trafficking network, seizing large amounts of the drug and arresting two Pakistani nationals, Riyadh’s interior ministry said Sunday.

The gang specialized “in the smuggling of raw heroin from the United Arab Emirates to the kingdom,” the ministry said in a statement published by the Saudi Press Agency.

Officers found 5 kg (11 pounds) of the drug hidden in the roof of a truck on its way to the Saudi capital, the ministry said.

The Pakistani truck driver was arrested.

“In light of cooperation from our UAE counterparts following this network, the smuggling of a second similar shipment was thwarted,” the ministry added.

Another 2 kg of heroin were found hidden in a truck which was crossing the border, and a second Pakistani driver was arrested, it said.

Saudi Arabia seized around 18 kg of the drug in the Islamic calendar year that ended in October, according to ministry figures.

The Gulf has become an increasingly important market for illicit drugs in recent years, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime says.

Drug trafficking is among the crimes punishable by death under Saudi Arabia’s strict version of Islamic sharia law.

Between mid-October and December 31 last year Saudi Arabia executed 13 Pakistanis for drug smuggling.

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