Mumbai Crime: Arrested South African smuggled drugs in exchange for garments

Updated: Jul 18, 2019, 07:44 IST | Suraj Ojha

South African national arrested for smuggling drugs into India in exchange of garments exported to his home country

Mumbai Crime: Arrested South African smuggled drugs in exchange for garments
Bonaventure Nzubechukwu Nwude was arrested by the ANC team from Khar

The good old barter system is not so old after all. The Mumbai police on Tuesday arrested a South African national for smuggling drugs into the country in exchange for garments. All the garment deals between India and Nigeria have now come under the scanner following his arrest. Bonaventure Nzubechukwu Nwude, 35, would ask drug cartels to export consignments of garments to Nigeria in exchange of smuggling drugs into the country. Crime branch's Anti Narcotics Cell (ANC) arrested the South African national from Khar with cocaine worth more than R6 crore.

The police said that the accused would accompany his wife and four-year-old daughter to India while body packing drugs to avoid suspicion at the customs check.

The Bandra unit of ANC received "a tip-off about a man in possession of drugs following which they laid a trap off New Link Road at Khar and arrested him," said Shivdeep Lande, DCP, Anti Narcotics Cell, Bandra.

"The ANC team led by Anil Wadhavne recovered 1.2 kg of cocaine worth R6.12 crore from Nwude upon examining him," Lande added.

In his statement to ANC officers, Nwude revealed that he had visited Mumbai in April with his family following instructions from members of his network to transport a consignment of 1.2kg of cocaine from an international trafficker in Delhi to Mumbai.

He was supposed to deliver it to Mumbai-based suppliers. Nwude accommodated his family in a Delhi hotel and met another trafficker who had smuggled the cocaine by body packing it in his stomach. Nwude received the delivery from him and travelled to Mumbai by train along with his family. After showing them around, he asked his wife and daughter to wait at Khar telling them he would be back in a few minutes.

He then met a drug peddler where the ANC team was already waiting. The cops later helped his family reach their rented apartment home in Kopar Khairane, Navi Mumbai. The three had been living here since April. An ANC officer said that Nwude had first visited India in 2002 after which he came in April on a business visa citing his garment deals. The police suspect that he is an interstate drugs transporter who takes his family's advantage to avoid police suspicion.

Nwude, during interrogation, told the police that he used to ask drug peddlers in India to purchase clothes for him and export them to Africa as their payment for the drugs.'

"They would take clothes in exchange for drugs. We were keeping a close watch on such clothes suppliers," Lande told mid-day.

ohn James Fransis, David Tubulai and Daniel Ejike were arrested by the ANC earlier this year in similar cases
John James Fransis, David Tubulai and Daniel Ejike were arrested by the ANC earlier this year in similar cases

Third arrest of 2019

Body packers (mules) who transport drugs concealed in their stomach, usually charge up to Rs 5 lakh for one kilogram of drugs. This is the third such case reported this year. The Bandra ANC had arrested two African nationals — John Fransis, 36, and Daniel Ejike, 32 — in January and seized 1.05 kg of cocaine worth Rs 6.03 crore from them. The duo who had concealed drugs in their stomach was arrested at the airport exit.

Another one was registered in May when David Tubulai, 33, a Kenyan national was arrested with 510 gm of cocaine worth Rs 3.6 crore.

Sources said that some other suspected Nigerians have also been dealing with other goods in exchange for drugs, and if the drugs are worth a larger amount, money transfer also takes place through hawala.

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