A special training to help Customs officials detect narcotics has shown tremendous results, with seizure of drugs at the city’s international airport rising by 30 times in 2012-2013 as compared to the previous year.
The Mumbai Customs seized drugs worth Rs. 60 crore in 18 cases this year, while last year only five such cases worth Rs2 crore were detected. Most seizures were made by the Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) of the Customs.
In March last year, the Indian government had organised a training for Customs officials and dog squads. A team comprising experts from selected dog squads of the United States’ police trained Customs officials in detecting narcotics.
The seizures made in 2010-2011 were even more dismal with only four cases being detected and drugs worth Rs24 lakh being seized. The commissioner of Customs, airport, PM Saleem confirmed the figures.
About the type of narcotics substances, another Customs official said that a huge amount of synthetic drugs including methamphetamine, ketamine hydrochloride and methaqualone were seized. Apart from these, synthetic drugs and cocaine were also seized in large quantities during 2012-2013. “The recent training in narcotics detection has helped in making this year,” said the Customs official.
Besides narcotics, the AIU also seized various other contrabands worth Rs89 crore in 171 cases in 2012-2013. During these, 86 people were arrested. As compared to this, last year (2011-2012) contraband worth only Rs33 crore was seized in 153 cases.
Officials said that since last year, the AIU had also started looking out for unusual carriers such as housewives, high-profile passengers and senior citizens.
“This was possible because of to the excellent performance of AIU, Courier Cell, Precious Cargo Customs Clearance Centre, and Disposal and Tax Recovery Cell Units,” said Saleem. He added that Chhatrapati Shivaji international Airport Customs commissionerate had also surpassed the annual revenue target of Rs613 crore for 2012-2013. “The airport commissionerate has collected Customs duty more than Rs700 crore, which is 54% more than the duty collection last year,” he said.