Liasu Lara Okin, 40, thought placing stinking dry fish and beef in her baggage would help her sail past Customs while smuggling Rs. 2 crore worth party drugs from Cotonou in Benin, a West African country.
However, her plans were foiled as the air intelligence unit (AIU) officials had prior information about her and examined her checked-in baggage after removing the putrid goods.
In the specially made artificial bottom of the bag, the officials found 1.3kg cocaine, 2.1kg ketamine hydrochloride and 100gram methamphetamine.
Customs officials said that Okin, a Nigerian national, arrived in Mumbai from Cotonou via Addis Ababa by an Ethiopian Airlines flight at around 5am on Monday.
She was stopped by an AIU batch headed by deputy commissioner of Customs Sameer Wankhede after she crossed the green channel at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport.
On opening the stinking bag, the officials were surprised to see the dry fish and beef. “She thought that with these items, her baggage won’t be examined thoroughly,” said a Customs official.
On removing them, the officials found that the bag had a specially made bottom in which they found the party drugs.
During questioning, Okin refused knowledge of the drugs and claimed that she was given the bag by her sister’s friend in Cotonou to hand over to a man in Colaba. The officials are searching her accomplice who was to collect the drugs. Okin was arrested under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.
Commissioner of Customs (airport) PM Saleem confirmed the seizure and arrest.
What has alarmed Customs officials is the presence of ketamine and methamphetamine along with cocaine as these are mostly smuggled from India to abroad.
“Smuggling ketamine and methamphetamine from abroad is extremely rare,” said another Customs official.
He added that this could be because of a large number of seizures of these drugs by various anti-narcotic agencies in Mumbai in the past couple of years, which could have made their availability difficult for local users.
“The profit margin could also be high for smugglers, which might have prompted smuggling of these two drugs,” the official said.