Top dog sniffs out Rs 5-cr dope at airport

A sniffer dog attached to the Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) helped the Customs officials make a 5-kg drug bust at the city’s international airport yesterday. The huge quantity of party drug, amphetamine, which is valued at Rs 5 crore, was concealed in a carton that was packed with bedsheets and was being transported by a Congolese national.

Police dog Anju sniffed the drugs stored in the hollow space of a carton, which was stuffed with bed sheets

The accused has been identified as Bokele Wetoko, who was scheduled to board a flight to Kinshasa International airport in Congo via Nairobi from the city’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. Authorities said the eight-year-old Labrador Anju sniffed the contraband in the wee hours of the morning, making it her ninth drug bust. These drugs, seized over a year’s period, are collectively worth Rs 35 crore.

Speaking to MiD DAY, Assistant Commissioner of Customs Kiran Kumar Karlapu, who was present as the spot, said, “Wetoko had concealed the drugs in the gap of the carton, which was stuffed with bed sheets. The dog began barking and that’s when we realised something was amiss and nabbed him. In fact, the dog’s handler, who has also been with us for the last seven years, was suspicious of Wetoko, as he was carrying a big bag that looked very unusual in comparison to the other two suitcases that he was carrying with him.”

Wetoko, however, cannot speak English and therefore requires a French translator. Customs officials said that they had managed to retrieve some information from him, adding that with the party season round the corner, huge quantities of drugs getting pushed out of the country did not come as any surprise to them.

“With Christmas and New Year days away, it comes as no surprise that amphetamine was being pushed out of the city. It is a popular drug on the party circuit and is consumed a lot by partygoers at rave parties. Wetoko has given us a few leads and we will be following up on them,” said Karlapu. Officials said this was the first time they had nabbed a Congolese national in the city for transporting drugs.

In good company
Earlier this month, 11-month-old Labrador Anny busted drugs worth Rs 3 crore at Mumbai airport. Anny, who was only recently trained, sniffed out the shipment after a woman alighted from the Ethiopian Airlines flight ET-611 that had landed in Mumbai via Delhi. Alerted by the enthusiastic dog, the officials began conducting checks on her. On the basis of the signal received from the dog, the squad members apprehended and recovered 16 kg of Ephedrine drug worth Rs 3.2 crore.

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