INDIA: On Friday evening, officers from the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) seized 198 kg of pure crystal methamphetamine (ice) and kg of high-purity cocaine. These drugs were smuggled into India from South Africa in Navi Mumbai.
The DRI officials stated on Saturday that the contraband was seized by intercepting a truck carrying imported oranges, near the Prabhu Hira Ice & Cold Storage Limited, located at APMC Yard, opposite Sanpada Railway Station Road in Vashi.
A large number of drugs were found concealed in the cartons containing Valencia oranges. The truck had left the cold storage, the DRI official said.
The DRI officers were keeping a watch on the consignment of fruits being cleared from this cold storage for the last few days. The contraband was seized under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.
South Africa is stated to be a hub of drugs like crystal methamphetamine, and Mumbai is said to be a transit point for off-loading and transporting drugs.
The DRI has arrested the importer and is looking for the customs house agent and the syndicate, including the finance involved in the racket.
Further investigation is underway. “Prabhu Hira” is being run by three directors, and the company has storage facilities at multiple locations in Maharashtra.
The DRI officers said that this could be a new mode adopted by drug cartels. After clearance from customs, the goods are kept in some cold storage, and then they are taken to their destinations.
Seizure at the airport
In another development, customs officials at Mumbai Airport arrested a woman passenger on Saturday for allegedly smuggling cocaine worth Rs 4.9 crore hidden in the cavity of her sandal.
The woman was intercepted by Mumbai Airport Customs officials on suspicion, and after searching, it was found that she was trying to smuggle cocaine weighing 490 grams, valued at Rs 4.9 crore, to India. She has been arrested and remanded to judicial custody.
In yet another development, the Mumbai Customs Zone-III destroyed 111 kg of drugs valued at Rs. 83 crores at the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) authorised facility, Mumbai Waste Management Limited, located at Taloja in Navi Mumbai, on Wednesday.
Drugs destroyed included 19.48 kg of heroin, 4.95 kg of cocaine, and approximately 44 kg of hashish and marijuana, the customs officials said.