Drugs smuggling: Courier firms under NCB scanner
With a profusion of courier and delivery firms all across Mumbai and Navi Mumbai, drugs that are camouflaged as everyday products like sweets and talcum powder, can be moved through the city without being detected.Updated: Mar 19, 2019 04:22 IST
The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has uncovered an ingenious method by which relatively small quantities of drugs are being trafficked without detection: Using the postal service and courier firms.
With a profusion of courier and delivery firms all across Mumbai and Navi Mumbai, drugs that are camouflaged as everyday products like sweets and talcum powder, can be moved through the city without being detected.
Since February, the authorities have detected four back-to-back cases in which courier companies in the city’s western suburbs and Navi Mumbai have been used to smuggle drugs to countries like New Zealand, Zambia, Qatar and Lesotho. The police acted on tip-offs in these cases and after questioning the arrested accused, they’ve uncovered how different kinds of contraband are being sent abroad using courier companies.
“There is no particular drug which has been sent as we have seized different drugs in all the cases,” said a high-ranking NCB officer requesting anonymity. Among drugs sent abroad from India are heroin, hashish, marijuana, along with controlled drugs, which are prohibited for sale without prescription.
The drugs may be hidden in secret cavities built into boxes of sweet and clothes. Powders have been declared to be talcum powder or flour. Pills that have been described as medicinal have turned out to be narcotics.
While the quantities are not large, the ease with which smugglers have taken advantage of the times when a package is left unsupervised is a cause for concern.
“We’ve found that mephedrone [popularly known as meow-meow or MD], which is in powder form, was mixed in flour. As the goods were declared as household items, there is less scrutiny,” said an officer from the Anti-Narcotics Cell (ANC).
“If someone conceals powdered drugs in talcum powder or flour, then it is difficult to trace even using scanners,” he said.
While questioning the accused arrested in the recent past, the police learnt that the carriers usually don’t know who has contracted them.
“There have been instances in which [delivery] boys have been paid off a sum just for delivering the consignment containing drugs to the courier company using bogus documents. The boys are usually unaware of the contents inside,” said an officer.