The Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) of Mumbai Customs on Thursday arrested a South African student carrying 4.4 kg morphine worth more than Rs 4 crore in the international market.
Anohya Jessica was arrested from the international airport in the early morning. She was booked on an Ethiopian Airlines flight, for Addis Ababa.
The AIU officials stopped her and checked her suitcase. They officials found morphine tablets concealed in specially designed top and bottom of in the suitcase. Jessica was arrested under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act. Though morphine is medically used as pain reliever, it attracts the NDPS Act if used for any other purpose.
Additional commissioner of Customs, AIU, Mahendra Pal confirmed the arrest.
AIU officials said that Jessica had come to India 15 days ago on a tourist visa. On Wednesday night, she arrived in Mumbai from New Delhi in a domestic flight and headed to the international airport.
Upon interrogation, Customs officials found that she had got the morphine tablets from a New Delhi resident. However, officials have not revealed his identity, as he is yet to be arrested.
“We are finding out the local syndicate behind this and suspect that they have a tie-up with South African narcotic gangs,” an AIU official said, requesting anonymity.
Officials said that the international cost of morphine is 100 times more than that in India, which is why it is so lucrative to smuggle. “While the local per kg cost is Rs one lakh, the same in illegal international market goes up to Rs1 crore,” the official said.If convicted Jessica could face 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment.