Eight kg cocaine valued at Rs 80 crore has been seized from two passengers at Hyderabad International Airport by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), an official said on Monday.
The contraband was seized in two separate cases. A male Tanzanian national, travelling from Cape Town to Hyderabad on a business visa and a lady passenger from Angola, with itinerary Angola - Mozambique - Lusaka - Dubai - Hyderabad on a tourist Visa were arrested.
Acting on specific intelligence, the officers of DRI unravelled two cases in a late night operation on May 1.
A total of 8 kg of cocaine, each passenger-carrying 4 kg, were seized from the passengers from the packets concealed in the false bottom of their trolley bags. The estimated value of the seized cocaine in the illicit market is Rs 80 crore.
According to the DRI, the instances of smuggling drugs through air have increased with easing restrictions on air travel and increased passenger traffic.
While Indian Customs have facilitated the clearances smoothly, the alert officers have busted the drug smuggling syndicates and nabbed carriers on multiple occasions across the country. Ingenious ways of transporting the contraband have been noticed by way of laminating drugs finely into their baggage which are almost invisible to the naked eye or by concealment in shampoos and food items or at times the passenger becomes body carrier by ingesting drugs in laminated capsules.
Multiple cases involving seizure of cocaine concealed in the form of pills ingested by air passengers have been booked by the DRI in the last four months. In two such cases booked in Mumbai during March and April, a total of 2.42 kg of cocaine was found concealed in pills ingested by two passengers.
In April, 1.15 kg of cocaine concealed in pills ingested by a passenger was seized at Hyderabad, and in another case one kg of cocaine was seized at Bengaluru in August 2021. Apart from Mumbai and Hyderabad, seizures of cocaine have also been affected at other airports also.
Sustained efforts of DRI has led to seizure of more than 350 kg of cocaine, estimated to be worth Rs 3,500 crore in illicit market, across the country after January, 2021. This includes a big haul of about 303 kg of cocaine, seized from a containerised cargo at Tuticorin Port.