By Andy Sambidge
Massive haul including 4.2m Tramadol tablets discovered during inspection at Jebel Ali Port
Dubai Customs said on Sunday it has foiled an attempt by a food and beverages company to smuggle about 52 million prohibited tablets into the emirate.
The haul, which included 4.2 million tablets of pain killer Tramadol, was seized at Jebel Ali Port, a statement said.
Saeed Ahmed Al Tayer, senior director of Sea Cargo Operations, Jebel Ali, said the tablets were found in a container coming from an Asian country.
"This is the second largest prohibited drug smuggling attempt foiled by Customs inspectors this year. It reflects the traffickers' determination to infiltrate prohibited substances endangering human health without any moral or religious restraint, seeking quick gains," Al Tayer said.
He revealed that the seizure took place after Dubai Customs received a tip off about the existence of Tramadol tablets in the cargo.
The container was found to be containing a total of 47.7 million tablets of restricted use.
"As Tramadol is a prohibited narcotic substance in the country, the seized goods were detained and the company`s representative was referred to the Anti-Drugs Department at Dubai Police general headquarters for further investigation," Al Tayer added.
He said the company responsible for the cargo had failed to obtain a licence for the drugs and only had a licence for trading food stuff and beverages.
"Tramadol traffickers target in particular students and youth mainly because they are the backbone of development in any society and hence they seek to disrupt such energies, which are capable of building, reward and development," he said.
According to medical reports, Tramadol can cause shortness of breath, convulsions, low blood pressure, heart failure and death.
Dubai Customs has recently launched an awareness campaign about the risks of Tramadol, in cooperation with the Health Authority and Dubai Media Incorporated.
The campaign addressed the rise of Tramadol misuse among students in recent years and the increase in the number of Tramadol seizures made lately - the largest of which was made in the second quarter of this year when 91 million Tramadol tablets worth AED1bn were seized.