Out of 18 passengers caught in 2012, 14 were scheduled to board a domestic flight and 10 of those were headed to Guwahati in Assam.
In 2012, over 500 kg of party drugs worth R120 crore were recovered from these passengers while in the previous two years, no such recovery or arrest was made.
Custom officials said the drug traffickers were using this route to smuggle drugs to African countries, which is a major market for party drugs.
“All the arrests were made from the departure terminal, suggesting the drug is going out of the Capital in large quantity. The traffickers are using students or call centre employees as carrier. They first smuggle it to Guwahati or Kolkata and from there the consignment is taken to Myanmar and Malaysia and finally to African countries,” a custom official said.
Since customs usually focus on the international terminal, the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) has trained its staff in identifying smugglers.
“Our intelligence staff has detected 18 cases by monitoring suspicious behaviour by passengers. Once the profiling is done, the passenger’s baggage is scanned and he/she is subjected to thorough checking. We handed over 16 suspects to Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) and two cases were handed over to the customs department,” a CISF official said.
The biggest haul was seized on December 11 in 2012, when three passengers — two Zimbabwe nationals and a South African citizen — were caught with 85.7 kg methaqualone and 62 kg pseudo-ephedrine. In another such catch on November 21, four Kolkata-bound passengers were caught with 85kg pseudo-ephedrine.
Custom officials said these drugs are manufactured in some factories in Delhi.
In the African countries, the drug powder is used in capsules or to make tablets. In a major drug haul in 2102, customs had arrested four people who were trying to smuggle 13 kg Ketamine out of the country.