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Driver gets 10-year jail term on drug charges

Defendant loses appeal after contesting Dh100,000 fine imposed by Court of First Instance for possession of 1kg of heroin

Dubai: A driver lost his appeal and will spend 10 years in jail for possessing 1kg of heroin that drug enforcement officers found hidden in a bag beside his bed.

Drug enforcement officers were tipped off by an informant in August 2017 that the 26-year-old Pakistani driver was using drugs and possessed capsules that he intended to sell in Al Ghusais.

Police obtained permission from Drugs Prosecutors to arrest the 26-year-old defendant in a sting operation before an anti-narcotics police team raided a parking lot and arrested him.

Upon questioning, the defendant admitted to police officers that he had kept the contraband in a bag at his residence in Sharjah. Police raided his flat and seized a bag containing 139 heroin capsules weighing around a kilogramme.

In November, the Dubai Court of First Instance convicted the defendant of drug possession and fined him Dh100,000 for possessing drugs with the intention to sell them.

The accused appealed his primary judgement before the Dubai Appeal Court where he pleaded not guilty and sought to have his punishment overturned. He contended before the appellate court that he did not know that the capsules found in the bag by his beside were drugs.

“I had nothing to do with the bag. A friend left it with me when he moved out from his old residence in Ajman to a new house in Sharjah. It had been left with me for three months but I never knew that the bag contained drugs and I never opened the bag. I was planning to give it back to my friend once he returned from Pakistan,” he argued in the appellate court.

Presiding judge Dr Ahmad Al Mutawa dismissed the defendant’s appeal and upheld his primary judgement.

According to the appeal judgement, the accused will be deported after paying the Dh100,000 fine and serving his jail term.

An anti-narcotic police lieutenant said the defendant was apprehended following a tip-off that he was planning to sell heroin.

“We apprehended him near the Roads and Transport Authority building. When we asked him if he had any drugs on him, he said no and, when we searched him, we didn’t find anything. He said he had a bag at his home and that it contained some drug capsules but he was not aware what type of drug it was. We seized the bag beside his bed and it contained 139 heroin capsules,” the lieutenant said.

The appellate ruling remains subject to appeal before the Cassation Court.

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