The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) seized 125 kg party drug ingredient ephedrine worth Rs25 crore at Nhava Sheva port on Thursday.
The drug was concealed in sofa sets and was being smuggled to Laos in south-east Asia. The DRI stopped the container carrying furniture of a reputed Indian brand before it could sail. The export consignment (furniture) was booked by a private exporter whom the DRI is tracing. The DRI is also tracing carpenters who opened the sofa sets to conceal the drug ingredient and then stitched it as it was in original form. DRI officials said the drug was concealed in packets.
Sources said the furniture was packed in the container at the port itself in the presence of Customs officials so as to avoid suspicion. Officials said it was not factory stuffed like in many other cases where goods are packed in the container in the presence of central excise officials at the factory premises itself and the same is sealed by excise.
The DRI suspect that the exporter who booked the furniture consignment for Laos might have used a stolen import-export code (IEC) or might have obtained the same IEC by using fake identity and address. "In such cases it becomes difficult to trace the actual exporter who tried to smuggle the goods," a DRI official said.