The man, unnamed and described by the Gulf News only as Asian, was arrested at Abu Dhabi airport attempting to bring 4.25 kilograms of heroin into the country.
Customs officials said they were tipped off when the man began to show signs of anxiety. After searching his bag, they found two transparent bags containing a brown substance later identified as heroin.
The suspect confessed he was bringing the drug to a European man living in the UAE in exchange for approximately $27,000, the Gulf News reported. The man said he received the heroin from a man in his home country, which was not reported.
The man's death sentence can be appealed, the Gulf News said.