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Mumbai, other metros are cocaine-smuggling hubs, says narcotics control bureau

Mumbai city news: Better air connectivity and crowds in metro cities make them ideal landing points for international drug smugglers, say officials

mumbai Updated: Jun 20, 2017 23:34 IST
Pratik Salunke
Pratik Salunke
Hindustan Times
Mumbai city news,cocaine,contraband
The agency is investigating the cocaine trail in the country.(HT)

The recent arrests of two foreign nationals by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) with cocaine worth more than ₹50 crore have revealed that metro cities across the country are being used as landing points for smuggling the contraband, according to officials.

The NCB on June 8 arrested a Bolivian national with cocaine worth ₹21 crore and three days later arrested a Colombian national with cocaine worth ₹36 crore. “The accused arrested are being used as carriers, who are paid around 3,000 US dollars to get the job done,” said a senior NCB officer.

Investigations revealed that metro cities in the city are used as landing points owing to better air connectivity. “Further, crowded metro cities make a perfect ground for the carriers to escape the eye of the agencies,” said the officer.

The agency is investigating the cocaine trail in the country. “Investigations are on to check if the city is used as a point to circulate the drugs domestically or it is being send abroad from here,” said the officer.

The questioning of the accused foreign nationals revealed that the carriers are usually unaware of who they are working for. “There are layers of people involved. The carriers are, at the most, communicating with a person who is himself unaware of the real drug lord,” said the officer.

The NCB is taking the help of translators to question the foreign nationals. “It was revealed that men and women are lured for the easy money in smuggling contraband. After their arrival in the city, the handlers wait for three to four days, which is a cushion period to ascertain if the carrier is not under radar. The carrier is then told through Whatsapp to hand over the contraband to another person,” said the officer. The officers were surprised to know that the Colombian national is a trainee commercial pilot.

Sources said that the agency is keeping a watch on certain flights coming from a specific route. “The paths known for the trade are under scanner. The stay and travel of the couriers are free. The carriers are given a part of the payment before they start, while the rest is transferred to their bank account,” said the officer.

Read Traffickers swallowing condoms filled with liquid cocaine: Interpol

First Published: Jun 15, 2017 09:46 IST