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Mumbai Crime: Smuggler caught with Rs 25 lakh gold hidden in a magazine

The ingenious smuggler had made a cavity in the magazine by cutting away the paper, and had filled it up with five pieces of gold

From storing gold in undergarments to making stapler pins out of it, Indian airports, you would think, have seen it all when it comes to the smuggling of the precious metal.

The magazine looked no different from an ordinary one on the outside, but had five gold pieces pasted in a cavity inside
The magazine looked no different from an ordinary one on the outside, but had five gold pieces pasted in a cavity inside

The Air Intelligence Unit at T2, however, realised that the ingenuity of the smugglers knows no bounds when it found one trying to sneak gold into the country in a magazine. A cavity was made in the magazine and five gold pieces, worth Rs 25.72 lakh, were pasted inside, ensuring that the magazine gave away no sign of the booty stashed within.

The smuggler, Mohamed Nisthar Dawood Lebbe, landed in Sri Lankan airlines flight UL141 around 2 am yesterday. Custom officials said that the magazine was cleverly placed under a handbag on the trolley so that it would go unnoticed.

“The officers were randomly following passengers from the bay and noticed that Lebbe removed the magazine from his bag and held it in his hand when the bag was being scanned. He later kept it under a handbag on the trolley.

Hence, he was stopped and the magazine was checked after the green channel,” said a customs official, requesting anonymity. “When one of our officers lifted the magazine, he found it was abnormally heavy. A thorough check revealed the gold pasted in a cavity especially made for the purpose,” he added.

Speaking to mid-day, Milind Lanjewar, additional commissioner (Customs), said, “This is the first time that a smuggler has been caught with gold hidden in a magazine. He was arrested and is out on bail. These smugglers have been trying to come up with new modus operandi, but are being caught by our officers.

The moment one trick fails, however, they come up with a new one.” Incidentally, cases of people trying to smuggle in gold from Colombo, the largest city in Sri Lanka, are on the rise. The city is known for its gold market.

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