The Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) of Mumbai Customs, on Wednesday, arrested a Nigerian national with 3.2 kg of party drug cocaine worth Rs 3.2 crore. The accused was trying to smuggle the same from Cotonou in Benin to Mumbai.
Acting on a tip-off, an AIU batch headed by deputy commissioner of Customs Sameer Wankhede stopped Umeh Patrick, 50, when he arrived by a Kenya Airways flight from Cotonou to Mumbai via Nairobi around 2am and had crossed the green channel at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport.
Patrick had concealed the drug in a specially-created bottom in his suitcase, officials said. He told the officials that a man had given him the bag in Cotonou and instructed him to call once he reaches Mumbai, after which he was to be told whom the drug was to be delivered. "This was done so that if the carrier is caught, he would not be able to reveal the name of the person who was to receive the drug, such that the sydictate is protected," said a Customs official.
Patrick told officials he was given $200 (Rs11,000) besides Cotonou and Indian currency, and free air tickets, for delivering the bag. "He might have got much more," the official said.
On checking his passport, Customs officials found that Patrick had made 10 visits to Mumbai in the last four years. Officials suspect these visits, too, could have been for smuggling purposes.
Patrick was arrested under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act. Commissioner of Customs, Airport, PM Saleem confirmed the incident. "We are keeping a tight vigil owing to the approaching new year," said Saleem.