In a first, 303 kg Colombian cocaine worth ₹2000 crore seized by DRI
In the largest ever seizure of cocaine in India, the Directorate of Revenue and Intelligence (DRI) has recovered 303 kgs of pure cocaine from a container in Tuticorin, which officials suspected was produced in Colombia and smuggled to India by one of the cartels there.
The value of the seized high-purity cocaine is estimated to be ₹2,000 crore in the international market, with the potential to provide over 3 lakh individual street deals of cocaine per gram.
The cocaine, officials cited above said, was concealed in a consignment imported in a container declared to be containing wooden logs. It was wrapped in multiple layers of packing material having been compressed as bricks.
The container originated from Panama, transited through the ports of Antwerp and Colombo, before reaching India but an officer said that 302 bricks or blocks of cocaine, which is of pure quality, weighing 303 kgs have markings from Colombia.
Multiple agencies are trying to identify the cartel behind smuggling such large quantity of cocaine to India and those involved here in buying such a huge consignment.
Drug enforcement experts said this kind of modus operandi for smuggling cocaine in India has never been witnessed earlier. “Two similar consignments having cocaine bricks/blocks were unearthed abroad in last couple of years – one by UK authorities in July last year and another by Australian Federal Police in 2019. But never have we come across such a huge consignment of cocaine in India,” said an officer who didn’t want to be named.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), the highest amount of cocaine seized by all agencies combined was 34 kg in 2019.
The powerful addictive stimulant drug is made from the leaves of coca plant native to South America and its primary markets are North America and Europe. There is no cultivation of coca plant in India and smaller amounts smuggled here are for urban centres like Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and are brought by suspects from West African drug syndicates.
“Very few instances of smaller quantities of smuggling of cocaine from Argentina and Brazil have come to our notice in the past but such a huge consignment of Colombian cocaine is a shocker,” said a second officer who didn’t want to be named.