After arresting two women drug mules at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport on Wednesday, the air intelligence unit (AIU) of Mumbai Customs seized 18kg of amphetamine, a party drug also known as ‘speed’, from a South African woman who was smuggling it to Maputo in Mozambique. The catch is said to be worth Rs18 crore.
The AIU picked up Herman Lucky, 32, while she was trying to board an Ethiopian Airlines flight for Maputo via Addis Ababa at 3am.
A unit headed by deputy commissioner of Customs Sameer Wankhede stopped Lucky as it found her movement suspicious. “Her body language and facial expressions arose suspicion,” said a Customs official requesting anonymity.
The officials checked her suitcase and found amphetamine in 18 polythene packets wrapped in clothes belonging to her, and some in bed sheets.
When questioned, Lucky said she was not aware the material was amphetamine. “She claimed that someone had given her a chemical that she was to use in her leather unit situated in Johannesburg,” the official said.
The AIU officials, however, believe that Lucky is hiding the truth to evade arrest. Officials have information that she got the drug from a contact in Mumbai, and are trying to catch him.
The AIU later formally arrested Lucky under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act. She was produced before a magistrate’s court in the evening and was remanded in judicial custody till September 7.
On Wednesday, the AIU had seized 6kg of cocaine said to be worth Rs6 crore while it was being smuggled to Mumbai from Benin, a West African country, by two women — Edyma Sirergar, 45, an Indonesian, and Ly Lygocle, 64, a Vietnamese.