A 38-year-old Brazilian woman and an Afghan national were arrested at the IGI Airport between December 30 and January 4 by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) for allegedly smuggling party drugs, capsules of cocaine and heroin worth over ₹10 crore in their stomach.
A total of 65 pellets of cocaine and 90 capsules of heroin have been recovered so far from their stomach, even as the two are currently under medical observation at the Safdarjung Hospital. The seized drugs were supposed to be sold to drug users on the eve the New Year celebrations and during other rave parties in and around the national capital, NCB officials said.
Rajendra Pal Singh, deputy director general (DDG) of NCB told HT that with the arrests and seizure of narcotics, they have foiled a massive drug deal made for the New Year celebrations.
“Interrogation of the two arrested foreigners will help us identify their links in India besides busting the drug cartels they were working for. The two worked as carriers for international syndicates involved in pushing cocaine, heroin and other narcotic drugs into India,” said Singh. The seized narcotic items were smuggled into India keeping in mind the New Year celebrations, he said.
According to the DDG, the NCB had put its focus on the foreigners coming to Delhi through IGI Airport to supply drugs in Delhi NCR during New Year celebration. On the night of December 30, NCB officials took Joseane Da Silva Antunes, a Brazilian woman, into their custody on suspicion of carrying drugs in her stomach after she landed at IGI airport in an Etihad Airways. She was travelling from Sao Paulo in Brazil to India via Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
“As we had information that the Brazilian woman was hiding cocaine capsules, she was taken to Safdarjung Hospital for medical examination during which it was confirmed that some foreign bodies were concealed in her stomach,” said the DDG, adding, “65 capsules of cocaine have been removed from her stomach so far. She is still under medical observation and more such capsules are likely to be recovered from her stomach.”
In a similar operation by the NCB, 50-year-old Afghan national Mohammad Qasem was apprehended on Wednesday after he arrived at the IGI airport. He was travelling from Herat in Afghanistan to New Delhi via Kabul. Qasem too was admitted to Safdarjung Hospital and 90 capsules of heroin have been removed so far from his stomach.
During the initial questioning, Antunes told police that she was travelling to India for the first time. She was supposed to stay at a hotel in Paharganj, the booking of which was done through e-booking. NCB officials are now trying to find out who booked the hotel room for her, and from where. “We are taking help of a translator for further probe as the woman does not speak English,” the officer said.
Qasem’s questioning has revealed that he had travelled to India six times in the past two years on medial and tourist visa. Officials are grilling him to know if he smuggled drugs during his earlier visits as well.
In 2016, 47 people, including 18 foreign national, were arrested by the NCB and 225 kilograms of drugs were seized from them.