Acting on specific intelligence, the officers of Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) unraveled two cases of Cocaine seizures at the Hyderabad International Airport in a late-night operation on 1st May 2022.
Two air passengers i.e., a male Tanzanian national, travelling from Cape Town to Hyderabad via Dubai on a Business Visa and a lady passenger from Angola, with itinerary Angola – Mozambique – Lusaka – Dubai – Hyderabad on a Tourist Visa were apprehended by DRI on suspicion of them carrying narcotic substances on 1st May 2022.
A total of 8 kg of Cocaine, each passenger carrying 4 kg, were seized from the passengers from the packets concealed in the false bottom of their trolley bags. The estimated value of the seized Cocaine in the illicit market is Rs. 80 crore.
The instances of smuggling drugs through Air have increased with easing restrictions on air travel and increased passenger traffic. While Indian Customs have facilitated the clearances smoothly, the alert officers have busted the drug smuggling syndicates and nabbed carriers on multiple occasions across the country. Ingenious ways of transporting the contraband have been noticed by way of laminating drugs finely into their baggage which are almost invisible to the naked eye or by concealment in shampoos and food items or at times the passenger becomes body carrier by ingesting drugs in laminated capsules.
Multiple cases involving seizure of Cocaine concealed in the form of pills ingested by air passengers have been booked by the DRI in the last four months. In two such cases booked in Mumbai during March and April 2022, a total of 2.42 kg of Cocaine was found concealed in pills ingested by two passengers.
In April 2022, 1.15 kg of Cocaine concealed in pills ingested by a passenger was seized at Hyderabad, and in another case one kg of Cocaine was seized at Bengaluru in August 2021. Apart from Mumbai and Hyderabad, seizures of Cocaine have also been affected at other airports also.
Sustained efforts of DRI has led to seizure of more than 350 kg of Cocaine, estimated to be worth Rs. 3,500 crore in illicit market, across the country after January, 2021. This includes a big haul of about 303 kg of Cocaine, seized from a containerised cargo at Tuticorin Port.