A 26-year-old woman was nabbed while trying to ship out the drug to Ethiopia, by concealing it in her suitcase
Mumbai Customs officials are accustomed to African drug couriers, or 'mules' carrying cleverly concealed drugs on their person -- stashed under the soles of their shoes, taped to their bodies or sewed onto their clothing.
In another such case, Customs officials at the Mumbai airport arrested an East-African woman yesterday, for trying to smuggle out 5 kg of heroin in a hollowed-out suitcase.
Nakazibwe Irene (26), a Uganda national, arrived in Mumbai via a domestic flight from Delhi on Saturday night, and was scheduled to board a flight to Ethiopia yesterday at 5.40 am.
She was intercepted by Customs officials at the departure terminal of International airport at 1.30 am, when members of the team headed by Customs official R K Jindal became suspicious while screening her suitcases.
When the suitcase was opened, officials found heroin concealed in its sides, covered with carbon paper.
"The heroin was kept in two boxes and was smartly concealed to avoid detection by the baggage screening machines. The market value of the confiscated drugs would be around Rs 5 crore," said an official from the Air Intelligence Unit (AIU).
Unlike cases in the past when consignments have been caught in the process of being smuggled into India, this shipment was being passed out of India.
During interrogation, Irene told investigators that a Nigerian lady named Joyce Patience would telephone her asking her to visit India. After collecting some money, she arrived in India on September 26.
She went to Chandigarh, where Joyce allegedly operates a heroin racket. Irene was told that a certain Mr Paul would give her a bag at the Delhi airport on October 8. She booked a ticket for Mumbai, and subsequent destinations, which included Addis-Ababa in Ethiopia and Burundi.
Irene has been booked under Section 104 of the Customs Act and under different sections of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS). "Presently, she is in custody of the Customs department, and will be produced in court on Monday," said P M Govande, commissioner, Airport Customs department.
September 28: Mumbai Customs officials nabbed an Indian national, Martoz Khan, with 4.5 kgs of gold, which he was carrying in two kettles.
September 15: Mumbai Customs officials arrested Mohammed Abdul Munir, with undeclared gold worth Rs 62 lakh. He had hidden the jewellery in four different packets, stashing them in his kneecaps.
August 12: Customs officials at the International airport intercepted 32-year-old Adam Hamid, who was carrying 500 gold chains, weighing a total of 4 kgs.