Five caught smuggling camel teeth at Mumbai airport

180 kg of camel teeth were being taken to Bangkok by the Indian nationals caught at the international airport

It seems that the International Terminal these days is seeing commodities other than gold being smuggled. But their find on Thursday is something even the security officials there might have never guessed they would see. On Thursday, the Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) of the Mumbai Customs caught a few people trying to smuggle 180 kg of camel teeth.

A man with his camel in the Thar Desert. Sources say the powdered teeth might be used for food adulteration. Pic for representation/thinkstock
A man with his camel in the Thar Desert. Sources say the powdered teeth might be used for food adulteration. Pic for representation/thinkstock

At about 10 pm during the queue security check, the camel teeth were noticed by Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) security staff Santosh. He informed the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and Customs.

The consignment was kept in eight bags that were later confiscated by AIU Officials. After the bags were confiscated, the five passengers they belonged to were offloaded.

During the questioning session it was revealed that the five passengers were supposed to travel to Bangkok by Thai Airways on Thursday. Their flight was scheduled to depart at 11.20 pm. The five passengers detained are Indian nationals, namely Priya Gopi, Birju Indu, Udesha Kumar Ravindra, Mera and Gopi. The consignment was later handed over to Forest Department.

It is not known why the teeth of the ‘ship of the desert’ were being smuggled. Sources said they may be powdered for use in food
adulteration.

Dr Pradeep Sharma, veterinarian at the National Research Centre on Camel at Bikaner said, “The camel’s teeth are used for ornaments and jewellery. Any such transportation of items of biological origin is illegal.”

“The passengers were immediately detained and were interrogated,” said a Customs Officer.

Smuggling wood
Three men and a female ground staffer from the international airport were caught trying to smuggle 135 kg of agarwood to Bangkok in December. mid-day had reported this (‘4 held at airport for trying to smuggle wood worth R10 l’, Dec 22). This was the first instance of an airport insider being involved in agarwood smuggling. The three men, who were supposed to fly to Bangkok aboard 9W 70 at 7.50 am, were trying to smuggle out the 135 kg agarwood, valued at R10 lakh.

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