An Israeli man was arrested in the UAE after he was suspected of attempting to smuggle $136 million worth of pure cocaine, Hebrew media reported Sunday.
Officers "recently thwarted a smuggling attempt of 500 kilograms of pure cocaine into the country", a Dubai police statement said, adding that the drug bust was one of the biggest in the Gulf state's history.
"The narcotics, worth more than 500 million dirhams ($136 million) in street value, were well-hidden within the structure of a cargo container."
The United Arab Emirates, made up of seven emirates including Dubai, has a zero-tolerance policy towards drug offenses.
Police said they foiled the smuggling attempt after receiving a tip about a cargo container carrying the contraband expected to pass through a seaport.
In the operation dubbed "Scorpion", a suspect of Middle Eastern origin was arrested. Police described the man as an intermediary for an international drug syndicate.
"Once the shipment arrived, the suspect transported the illegal drugs to another emirate and stored them in a warehouse with the aim of selling and promoting the harmful toxins," said Eid Mohammed Thani Hareb, director of the Anti-Narcotics Department, according to the statement.
The suspect was identified by Israeli media as Khalil Dasuki, a resident of the central city of Lod with a long criminal history in Israel. He was recently arrested by Israeli police along with his brother on narcotics charges, and then released for lack of sufficient evidence, according to the public broadcaster Kan.
Drug smugglers face possible death sentences in the UAE but in practice, executions are rare.
First published: 09:08, 10.11.21