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South African held with heroin worth Rs 7 crore

mumbai Updated: Jan 29, 2010 00:40 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
South African woman

Customs officials arrested a South African woman at the airport for allegedly trying to smuggle out 7 kg of heroin, worth Rs 7 crore in the international market, to Swaziland.

The Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) of the Customs Department detained Julia Nyandeni (50) on Thursday morning as she was about to board Ethiopian Airlines flight ET-611 for Manzini via Johannesburg.

On checking her baggage, they found that the drug concealed in a false bottom of her suitcase, two purses and in the heels of three pairs of sandals.

Additional Commissioner of Customs, AIU, B.S. Nunwal confirmed the seizure.

During questioning, AIU officials learnt that Nyandeni had come to Mumbai on January 19 and immediately left for Delhi.

She claimed that some of her South African contacts in Delhi — she has reportedly given their mobile numbers to the Customs authorities — gave her the heroin which was already concealed in the bag, purses and footwear.

Nyandeni returned to Mumbai on Wednesday night by a domestic flight and the next morning was to leave for Manzini.

On checking her passport, officials found that she had visited India four times last year.

The authorities are now investigating if the South African woman was involved in similar offence on all these visits.

Nyandeni, who has been booked under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, will be produced in court on Friday.

Smuggling heroin from India to foreign destinations is a lucrative business as locally if the value is Rs 3.5 lakh per kg, in the international market the same shoots up to Rs 1 crore per kg.