Buttons are useful and nobody knows this better than 29-year-old Thienmoli Mathaven who used them to conceal heroin worth Rs 3 crore in the international market.
The Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) of Mumbai Customs arrested the Malaysian woman on Wednesday while allegedly trying to smuggle out the drug weighing 2.85 kg.
She was intercepted while boarding a British Airways flight for Oslo via London.
On checking her baggage, officials found 30 gowns with 823 huge-sized buttons. Mathaven told them that she sold women’s garments and was taking the gowns to Oslo.
On scrutiny, they found about 3.5 gm of powder concealed in the hollow portion of each button. She was arrested after preliminary tests confirmed the powder was heroin.
Additional Commissioner of Customs (AIU) BS Nunwal said Mathaven had landed in Chennai from Malaysia on August 25. before flying to Delhi.
In Delhi, a foreigner whose identity has been kept secret by the Customs, delivered the drug to her, he added.
She came to Mumbai by a domestic flight on Tuesday.
Customs officials said Mathaven told them that an acquaintance in Malaysia had told her to contact the foreigner in Delhi and smuggle the drug to Oslo. It was her maiden attempt to smuggle drugs, she claimed.
Mathaven has been booked under the Narcotic, Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.