The Delhi zonal unit of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) arrested two women of African origin with four kilograms of smuggled cocaine worth ₹30 crore in the international market, on Saturday.
The arrested women have been identified as Thelma Mkandawire, 38, from Zambia and Pamela Devid Kiritta, 41, from Tanzania.
Bureau officials alleged that the arrested women were members of a gang led by a South African national based in India.
With the arrest of these foreign women, the NCB claimed to have busted an international drug trafficking gang involved in smuggling of drugs into India from Latin American countries such as Brazil and Peru, via Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa.
This syndicate roped in women from African countries to transport drugs and deceive enforcement agencies.
Rajendra Pal Singh, deputy director general (DDG) of NCB’s Delhi unit, said Thelma and Pamela were caught from a hotel in south Delhi’s Mahipalpur following inputs received by their officials that they would allegedly deliver a consignment of cocaine to somebody.
“Our team had information that the Zambian woman was coming to India on a European Airline flight from Addis Ababa and that she would land at the IGI Airport with a consignment of drugs,” the DDG said, adding that their raiding team mounted surveillance on the woman as soon as her flight landed.
After getting security clearance at the airport, the Zambian woman boarded a taxi and left. The raiding team followed her to the hotel in Mahipalpur where her partner Pamela was waiting for her. The two were caught before they could leave the hotel, and Thelma’s trolley bag was seized.
“The baggage was thoroughly scanned and four kilograms of cocaine stuffed in the base of the bag were seized. The consignment was tightly wrapped in black plastic in such a way that it went undetected through the baggage scanner machine at the airport,” said Madho Singh, NCB’s zonal director.
Pamela’s interrogation revealed that she was staying in a rented flat in Vasant Kunj since January 20. “Pamela has revealed that she was working for a South African man. She has visited India nine times since 2006. She also visited other countries such as Ecuador, South Africa and Kenya. We suspect she trafficked drugs in all her visits,” the zonal director said.
Thelma, on the other hand, was arrested in Pakistan in 2015 allegedly on drug trafficking charges. She also visited China and Hong Kong in the past allegedly for the same purpose, NCB officials said.
This is the second such drug smuggling racket busted by the NCB in the last fortnight. On January 21, three Vietnamese nationals, including a 36-year-old woman, were arrested from a hotel in Paharganj with three kilograms of cocaine and 450 grams of methaqualone worth over ₹21 crore in the international market.