Carrier entrapped for smuggling drugs in exchange for free Thailand trip | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times

Carrier entrapped for smuggling drugs in exchange for free Thailand trip

Jul 09, 2024 09:08 AM IST

DRI Mumbai unit uncovers man smuggling ₹5 crore worth of hydroponic weed from Thailand in exchange for ₹20,000 and a trip. Man arrested at Mumbai airport.

MUMBAI: An investigation by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI)’s Mumbai Zonal Unit has revealed that a jobless man in his late twenties was entrapped into smuggling hydroponic weed worth around 5 crore from Thailand, in exchange for 20,000 and an all-expenses-paid sightseeing trip to the southeast Asian country, agency sources said.

HT Image
HT Image

The carrier was promised 20,000 and a three-day trip to Thailand for successfully smuggling the contraband into India, the sources said. The man, a school dropout in his late twenties, was attracted by the opportunity to visit Thailand, a popular tourist destination, and the promised money. He claimed ignorance about the contraband, which was concealed in one of his bags, the sources said. The contraband, weighing 5.35 kg, was hidden inside packets meant for carrying fruits.

The carrier was arrested last Monday by the DRI after 5.35 kg of hydroponic weed, worth 5 crore, was found in his bag upon his arrival at Mumbai’s international airport on a flight from Bangkok. The agency made the arrest and seized the contraband under the provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985. A city court remanded him in judicial custody. Acting on a tip-off, the DRI identified the passenger and searched his bags, which yielded nine vacuum-packed silver-coloured packets, each bearing the name of a different fruit.

A greenish substance was recovered from each packet, confirmed as marijuana using a field NDPS test kit, sources said. The passenger was suspected of being a carrier for a narcotics-trafficking network.

Hydroponic weed, grown under controlled conditions without soil, is 50 times more potent than regular cannabis and seriously impairs users’ health. Primarily sourced from the United States and Canada, it sells for around 1 crore per kg in illicit markets, compared to 1 lakh per 5 kg for regular ganja. In 2022, Thailand decriminalized cannabis for medical purposes, though it remains illegal for recreational use.

In a separate operation last September, the DRI’s Nagpur unit seized 211 kg of ganja worth over 42 lakh. Officers intercepted a tractor-trolley at the Mauda toll plaza near Nagpur, discovering the contraband in around 100 packets hidden in a specially-built cavity. Two individuals were arrested under the NDPS Act.

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