The joint security cooperation between the UAE Ministry of Interior and its Pakistani counterpart has resulted in napping the most dangerous regional network for trafficking and smuggling heroin.
The network was run by Pakistani national, Akil Khan, from his premises in Pakistan. The criminal network included more than 40 members of Asian nationality and targeted the citizens and residents of the UAE and its neighboring countries.
Colonel Saeed Abdullah Al Suwaidi, Director General, Anti-Narcotics Federal Directorate General at the Ministry of Interior, noted that a number of various reports recently led to the arrest of the suspected promoters and abusers. Investigations uncovered that they received the drugs from a single source – from one exclusive distributor. The gang leader would run his operations via the phone from abroad after he recruited dozens of promoters in the UAE.
Col. Al Suwaidi explained that Lt. General HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, was informed regarding the investigation procedures, the challenges the work team faced in order to arrest the gang leader, and the damages that this network has caused in terms of deaths and addiction cases of citizens and residents.
H.H Sheikh Saif directed the strengthening of concerted joint efforts and to raise the alarm in order to resolve the matter. His Highness directed to dig the network out by its roots in order to bring down the mastermind and his network of criminals as quickly as possible.
According to Col. Al Suwaidi, the meticulous plan developed to achieve the large-scale capture was dubbed "Remote Countering". The operation resulted in the arrest of 40 traffickers and promotors, 80 drug addicts, and 150 kilograms of heroin. The arrested suspects were working under the supervision and direction of Akil Khan, who served a prison sentence in Abu Dhabi in 2012 and was deported after finishing his time. Upon returning home, he established and operated a gang from his home in Pakistan. "Akil Khan was seemingly unaware that the UAE is capable of effectively countering crime that affects the security of its society – regardless of the threat’s origin. The breadth of our capabilities stretch across the continents," said Col. Al Suwaidi.
In more details following the gang leader’s deportation to Pakistan, Col. Al Suwaidi said that Akil Khan formed a network to promote heroin. Based on his extensive relationships with the drug addicts he had established during his time in the UAE, Akil Khan remarkably expanded his criminal activity over the past two years until it became a concern of security for the anti-narcotics departments in the UAE and neighboring countries. Khan’s name was listed as one of the most dangerous financiers of heroin in the UAE and throughout the Gulf.
"He reached a level of insolence and self-confidence, thinking he had immunity, he allowed anyone to contact him directly without the need for a middleman or having to have been previously introduced to him. He would then provide the drugs to the addicts by having it delivered to them. He gained the trust and confidence of the addicts by his quick delivery and service to their nearest locations," he said.
Col. Al Suwaidi added that the operation took an unconventional turn as it passed through various stages of highly confidential joint security work, which resulted in the formation of a federal team in order to target the suspect in his home in Pakistan in coordination with the Pakistani authorities. The operation led to the identification of his partners and accomplices within and outside of the UAE alongside identifying the geographical locations related to his activities and partners and place of capture. "Such efforts were successful and with the members behind bars, resulted in the dismantling of the criminal network and the process of treatment and rehabilitation for the victims of the crimes in a bid to alleviate the effects," he said.
"The criminal approach in the promotion of narcotics was creative in the fact that it entailed a sum of money to be transferred from the addict to the gang leader in Pakistan – all without access to any middleman or knowing the date of delivery or the person responsible for extraditing it. Following the financial transfer, the addict then awaits a phone call from Pakistan where they will be guided the location where the drugs are hidden," said Col. Al Suwaidi. He said such a methodology proved challenging for the security bodies, as they were prevented from being able to monitor receipt and delivery operations that are usually associated with conventional face-to-face transactions.
The international cooperative efforts between the UAE security bodies and their counterparts in Pakistan not only led to the capture of gang leader in his den in Peshawar, but also led to the arrest of three of his accomplices; oh whom were in possession of 10 kilograms of heroin. "The operation was successful in alleviating the two neighbor countries’ societies from evil," said Col. Al Suwaidi.
The Anti-Narcotics Federal Directorate General expressed its deepest appreciation for the role played by its Pakistani counterparts and for their immediate cooperation with the efforts that benefitted both countries. The directorate also called upon the public not to hesitate to report any criminal activity related to drug trafficking by calling the toll-free number for "Mukafih" Service 80044. –End-
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