South African national arrested at international airport with heroin Rs 56 cr

The Customs Department’s Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) on Saturday arrested a South African national for allegedly smuggling heroin worth Rs 56 crores at the international airport. Said contraband was concealed in the baggage and was discovered upon examination of the baggage.

According to AIU officials, on Saturday, based on suspicion, a team of customs officers intercepted a passenger arriving from Johannesburg to Mumbai. “Examination of the passenger’s baggage resulted in the recovery and seizure of 8 kilograms of off-white powder which was tested for heroin,” a customs official said.

The seized NDPS substance weighing 8 kg and worth approximately Rs 56 crore was concealed/stuffed in three small bags inside the registered wheelie bag. Under sustained questioning, the passenger revealed that the drugs had been given to him in Johannesburg.

According to agency officials, the arrested man worked as a mule or cargo carrier and had agreed to smuggle contraband instead of cash. “People from lower economic backgrounds work as carriers instead of cash or free travel. These carriers are only told by their supplier that they must hand over the shipment to someone who would be waiting for them outside the airport. When the receiver realizes that the carrier is taking longer than usual to get out of the airport, they just leave the place,” the manager said.

This is the second largest heroin seizure at the international airport this month. On February 13, IAU officials had arrested a Zimbabwean woman for allegedly smuggling more than 8 kilograms of heroin worth Rs 60 crore through the international airport. Said contraband was concealed in the trolley bag, in an executive bag and two file folders.

Last December, in the largest heroin seizure at the international airport, customs officers arrested two Zimbabwean nationals who were trying to smuggle 35kg of heroin, with a street value of Rs 240 crores into cavities specially designed for Trolley bags.

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Posted: Sunday, February 27, 2022, 7:14 PM IST

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