Middle eastern countries have some of the strictest laws against the trafficking of drugs and liquor. The punishment could range from years in jail, deportation, or even beheading.
Despite this, people try attempting to smuggling them there and even use unsuspecting everyday people who are travelling from their home countries to become carriers.
NRIs in the middle east have been taught to ensure that no matter who it is if someone approaches them with a request to carry a small parcel for their relative in the middle east, make sure that nothing illegal is in the packet.
A couple from Mumbai learned this the hard way when they were arrested at Hamad International Airport in July 2019 after Qatari authorities recovered 4.1kg hashish from their bag.
[Mohammad Shareeq and his wife Oniba Kauser Shakeel Ahmed] BCCL
The couple, Mohammad Shareeq and his wife Oniba Kauser Shakeel Ahmed had gone for their honeymoon, a trip that was sponsored by a relative.
But the couple was unaware that the relative, Shareeq's paternal aunt Tabassum Riyaz Qureshi was using them as drug carriers.
Qureshi who sponsored the trip had hidden some 4.1 kg of hashish in their luggage, claiming that it was tobacco that was to be given to a friend in Doha.
The unsuspecting couple was arrested by the authorities and despite their pleas, was sentenced to ten years in jail.
At that time, Oniba had just learnt that she was pregnant and she delivered a baby girl in jail last year.
After the couple was convicted, Oniba's father Shakeel Ahmed had written to NCB Director General Rakesh Asthana on September 27, 2019, following which the agency started a probe into the case.
"In his letter, Qureshi had said his daughter and son in law were deceived in the garb of a honeymoon package by a woman named Tabassum Riyaz Qureshi and her associate Nizam Kara. An NCB probe found the couple was trapped by a drug running network infamous as the Kasargod syndicate," he said.
The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) had then approached authorities in Qatar through diplomatic channels to bring back the couple, said KPS Malhotra, the agency's deputy director.
The family's efforts paid off and in January this year, the 10-year jail sentence was overturned by Qatar's highest court.
After being freed from prison, the couple was allowed to travel back to India and reached Mumbai with their daughter on Wednesday morning.