Dubai Customs organizes regional interactive anti-drug workshop

Dubai – 30 June 2020: Dubai Customs joined the world in celebrating the International Day Against Drug Abuse and illicit Trafficking, which is observed on 26th June every year. The Government organization organized a regional interactive workshop under the auspices of HE Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, Director General of Dubai Customs, which aimed to more knowledge and experience exchange, and more cooperation in fighting illicit trafficking.

The Federal Customs Authority, the Regional Intelligence Liaison Offices (Rilo) in Saudi, the Saudi Customs, local customs departments and more than 200 participants took part in the online workshop, which was facilitated by Khalil Saqer bin Gharib, Director of Corporate Communication Department.

The workshop discussed Dubai Customs’ recommendation of connecting the GCC countries with a unified risk management system, which, if implemented, will foster security and unify the efforts in fighting illicit trafficking in the region. Hazardous shipments will be tracked and intercepted more efficiently, with such a unified system.

“The success of the first interactive regional antidrug workshop urges us to organize it annually on the same date,” said Khalil Saqer bin Gharib, Director of Corporate Communication Department. “These events help us exchange expertise and knowledge on different methods used by smugglers, and feed the information banks of the GCC customs organizations with the latest technologies and methods of fighting this danger and intercepting high risk shipments.”

This year’s theme “Better Knowledge for Better Care” is an expression of the International efforts and determination to strengthen action and cooperation to achieve the goal of an international society free of drug abuse.

Munira bint Khalid Al Rashid, Director of RILO stressed on more exchange of intelligence information around customs seizures in cooperation with the local offices. She said there are 3 local offices in the UAE in the Federal Customs Authority, Dubai Customs and Abu Dhabi Customs. She highlighted the role of the Saudi RILO office in supporting all local offices through exchange of important intelligence information to create conditions for more efficient enforcement actions and controls and to secure the optimum use of available resources.

Ahmed Abudallah Al Eisa, Director of Control Center at the Saudi Customs said the coordination between customs authorities in Saudi takes place at the highest level to ensure safety and protect the society from the hazards of prohibited materials.

Huda Hamid Abdulla Belhoul, Director of Risk Management Department, Federal Customs Authority said the exchange of intelligence information is very important for more efficient intercepting and seizure of hazardous goods including drugs.

“Complicated smuggling methods are one of the main challenges that customs authorities face nowadays, which urges us to have more cooperation in this regard” she said.

Belhul revealed customs authorities thwarted 39% of seizures in the UAE in 2019.

Mohammed Al Hamli, Acting Manager of Investigation Section at Abu Dhabi Customs Authority thanked Dubai Customs for holding this successful workshop and called for more cooperation between customs authorities and the RILO office to fight illicit trafficking and securing the borders.

On his part, Mohammed Ibrahim Al Raisi, Director of Khatm Melaha Customs Center in Sharjah Customs talked about their role in fighting drug smuggling using the latest technologies and professional teams.

Khalid Ahmed, Senior Manager of Dubai Customs’ Passenger Operations Department at Dubai international Airport, Terminal 1 said training of inspection officers and continuous development of skills is a priority. The Department made 476 drug seizures in 2018, 1,222 seizures in 2019 and 360 seizures in Q1, 2020.

Fuad Al Swaidi, Senior Manager of Jebel Ali and Tecom Customs Center said the different department and sections of Dubai Customs work together as one team which led to thwart many smuggling attempts including 5.715 million captagon pills and 53,760 lyrica pills.

At the end of the workshop, Imran Rashid Imran from the Intelligence Department at Dubai Customs talked about the Smart Risk Engine and its role in tracking and intercepting illegitimate and high risk shipments.