International drug dealers constantly come up with different devices to conceal and smuggle their consignment, from niches in religious paintings to packs marked custard powder.
Drug smugglers have taken to children's books of late.
The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence on Monday evening seized 600 grams of heroin worth Rs 80 lakh from a courier company in Andheri. The heroin was stashed in the hardback covers of six children's books bound for Italy.
On the inner sides of the front and back covers of mythological books featuring Sai Baba and Hanuman, Mulla Naseeruddin stories and an English Learner, directorate officials found cavities in which the heroin was placed. The officials were unable to get to the sender as the courier company's records showed it was another, small courier company that had booked the parcel with it.
"Smugglers book the consignment with small, local courier companies which are not registered and, hence, not bound by regulations. Such courier companies do not ask for details of the sender and do not have any screening facility to detect illegal goods," an official said, requesting anonymity for reasons of official policy. "The local courier then books the consignment under its name with a big courier firm to send it abroad."
In this case, officials enquired with the smaller courier company to find an African had booked the parcel. No details like name or address were available, but officials learnt the same person had booked three similar parcels to European countries in two months. Authorities suspect heroin was sent abroad in all three cases.