Eight Iranians and two Pakistanis were sentenced to death for smuggling 2.5 tonnes of hashish by the Khorfakan Criminal Court in the UAE on Monday, Khaleej Times reported.
Another Iranian served a 10-year prison sentence followed by deportation. Three other Iranians, aged 11, 14 and 17, were ordered to be deported. They are sons of the gang's kingpin and owner of the boat. The verdict is open to appeal in 15 days, a source at the court said.
Presiding judge of the three-bench court Ahmed Saeed Al Naqabi ordered the confiscation of the seized contraband and the boat the suspects had used to transport the hashish, which was hidden in bags of flour kept under fishing nets.
According to court records, the case dated to January this year when the Sharjah Police arrested the gang of 14 and seized the hashish after they attempted to smuggle the contraband through Khorfakan coast in Sharjah, which lies close to Fujairah.
According to police, they were tipped off by an informant that a gang in a boat laden with drugs was on their way to the UAE in an effort to find a buyer.
The haul was the second biggest seizure of its kind after an earlier incident in 1991 when officials foiled a bid to smuggle in three tonnes of hashish. An international gang of smugglers was arrested in what was known as the 'Khorfakan Operation'.