The General Authority of Customs (GAC) has foiled five attempts to smuggle marijuana, collectively weighing 29kg, into the country.
Four of the seizures were made at Hamad International Airport (HIA), while the fifth consignment had arrived as a parcel sent from an Asian country.
At HIA, the seizures were made after GAC inspectors suspected the contents of luggage carried by some Asian passengers and carried out a thorough search of the bags. They found marijuana in different packs weighing 6kg, 9kg, 7kg and 3.4kg, respectively, according to a press statement from GAC.
The contraband was wrapped in carbon paper as the smugglers might have thought this would help conceal the marijuana and it would not show up during screening, the statement noted.
The fifth seizure was made by an employee at Air Cargo when he suspected the contents of a package coming from an Asian country, containing files and school textbooks. Secret pockets were found inside the files, which were used to hide marijuana weighing a total of 4kg.
Ahmed al-Khanji, director of the Air Cargo and Private Airports Customs Department, said the air cargo employee's skills helped detect the marijuana as the illicit drug was hidden inside the files in a professional manner. Customs employees are familiar with such methods due to the sophisticated training they undergo regularly.
Ajab Mansur al-Qahtani, acting director of HIA Customs, said the latest seizure comes only weeks after some 22kg was seized. These developments show that this season has seen a rise in attempts to smuggle marijuana into the country, he observed, However, he stressed, these seizures would make smugglers think several times before attempting such operations and also highlighted the capability of Qatari Customs officials to adequately protect the borders.
Meanwhile, GAC president Ahmed bin Ali al-Mohannadi honoured the four inspectors at HIA Customs and the employee from the Air Cargo and Private Airports Customs Department, thanking them for their alertness and efforts in foiling the attempts to smuggle such a large amount of marijuana into the country.
He noted that the GAC would continue its efforts to develop the skills of its employees through advanced training courses.
Necessary legal procedures were initiated against the smugglers in collaboration with the departments concerned.