An American man based in the UAE has gone on trial for buying cocaine for two women in order to have sexual intercourse with them, Dubai's Court of First Instance has heard.
Official court records state that Dubai Police received a tip-off about a man earlier this year who was allegedly in possession of illegal substances in his hotel room on the Palm Jumeirah.
According to Gulf News, the police subsequently raided his hotel room at 7:15 pm and arrested the American national, who was found to be in the company of one of the women.
"We had information that both were taking drugs. She was staying in another room in the hotel; we searched her room and found the second woman there. We also found traces of drugs inside her room. They confessed that the defendant supplied the drugs," said an Emirati police officer, who was at the scene of the crime in May 2018.
At the time of his arrest, the defendant admitted to the authorities that he had met the two women in a nightclub a day earlier and that they had asked him to buy drugs in exchange for sex.
"He said that they [the two women] gave him a drug dealer's phone number. He bought 10,000 dirhams ($2,722) worth of cocaine from the dealer and gave it to the them," the police officer's official court statement read.
Additionally, while the man was being held at Dubai's Al Barsha Police Station for further questioning, a small plastic bag containing cocaine was found in his pocket.
While the two women were arrested and referred to Dubai's Misdemeanours Court, the 47-year-old American defendant was charged with supplying drugs to his female acquaintances, possessing 0.71 grams of cocaine, as well as consuming drugs and alcohol.
The UAE is continuously working to combat drug use in the country
Despite strict domestic drug laws, a 2014 study revealed that drug use in the UAE rose by 526 percent over the last three decades.
Drug addiction costs the UAE more than 5.5 billion dirhams ($1.49 billion) each year. This has led the nation to intensify its efforts to address drug use. Over the past few years, authorities and police forces have jointly collaborated with various institutions to combat substance abuse.
Amended anti-drug laws in the UAE
In 2016, the UAE laws concerning illegal substance abuse were amended. The changes saw prison sentences reduced to two years, down from four years in previous years.
Judicial authorities were also given more options when dealing with drug users. This includes issuing fines to violators and sending them to rehabilitation facilities instead of imprisoning them.
Since the law came into effect, more than 100 drug users have come forward voluntarily or whose families have turned them in for help, The National reported.