Customs officials have seized heroin worth Rs 90 crore from two Ugandan women, who had come to India as medical tourists, at Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport here, an official statement issued on Saturday said.
The officers seized 12.9 kg of heroin from the two passengers who had arrived from Nairobi, Kenya via Abu Dhabi during the intervening night of November 12 and 13, it said.
The value of the seized narcotic is approximately pegged at Rs 90 crore as per the prevailing international prices, the customs department said in the statement.
The narcotic and the smugglers had passed through several jurisdictions, including Uganda, Kenya and India, before being intercepted, it said, adding that the heroin was concealed in the false cavity of their check-in luggage.
The baggage of the passengers was also sniffed by canine squad of the Indian customs stationed at the Delhi airport and they indicated the presence of some narcotic substance in the baggage, the statement said.
On detailed personal and baggage search and questioning, the woman passengers admitted to having brought the heroine in their checked in baggage by ingeniously concealing it in the especially made cavities beneath the fake layer of fibre-plastic base on both the sides of the suitcases, it said.
It was vacuum packed in plastic and paper bags containing crystalline form of off-white-coloured powder or granules of heroin, the statement said. During questioning, one of the woman passengers revealed that she was introduced to a Kenyan national, who had promised her money in exchange of delivery of certain goods in Delhi, it said.
Thus, on this invite, she travelled to Nairobi from Kampala by road where the Kenyan handed over a bag to be delivered in Delhi while also providing tickets and certain documents to cover her visit as a medical tourist, the statement said.
"She was supposed to deliver the goods to a person who would contact her on exit. When she was intercepted by customs officials, she was found to be in possession of a bag with a false bottom/cavity where 5.4 kg of heroin was concealed," it said.
The other woman passenger was also intercepted in the same flight in almost similar manner in which she was found to be in possession of two bags with false cavity containing cumulative of 7.5 kg of concealed heroin.
"During her preliminary questioning, the woman passenger revealed that she was sent by her sister from Kampala to Nairobi by road and from there to Delhi via Abu Dhabi by the aforementioned flight. This passenger was also possessing certain documents to fake the profile of a medical tourist," the statement said.
The success against the drug smuggling menace comes in the wake of earlier seizure of approximately 3 kg of heroin recovered from a Kenyan national who had arrived on the intervening night of October 28 and 29 from Nairobi via Sharjah, it said.
In April this year also, two Indian nationals, who were coming from Uganda, were intercepted with 2 kg of heroin in which investigation resulted into identification of three more accused persons based out of Uganda.
In this calendar year, the Delhi customs have seized more than 100 kg of heroin and arrested over 26 persons. Given the spurt in the attempts to smuggle in narcotics through the passenger route, Indian customs have heightened the scrutiny and checking of suspects through robust intelligence gathering mechanism and pin-pointed profiling at all the international airports.
Customs department is at the forefront of crusade against drugs smuggling and syndicates. In September this year, a huge consignment of 3,000 kg of heroin were seized at Mundra port in Gujarat, it said.
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