2 special squads to bust drug smugglers at airport
With 30 new specialised preventive officers and two special squads, the Customs department at Mumbai airport has added some serious muscle.
Two big drug hauls within 48 hours recently have inspired this change. Officials are aiming to restrict all forms of smuggling here by perking up surveillance.
The new officers are undergoing meticulous training at the airport, after which they will be sent to the recently formed Special Task Force (STF) and Striking Squad (SS), top sources claimed.
“Till date an integrated dog squad and a few trained officers were solely responsible for a major part of surveillance. The dog squad also has its limitations. With smugglers changing their modus operandi almost every week, we need trained officers who are smart enough to expose them,” sources said.
“In the last two cases of drug interception, one thing we realised was that the mafia is pulling out all stops to operate through the airport. The new officers, apart from undergoing psychological training, are also getting educated about interception of drugs so no one dares enter the airport with these banned substances,” sources added.
STF will keep an eye on syndicates trying to foster their trade through couriers and cargoes while SS would be closely monitoring every passenger exiting and entering an aircraft. SS will also inspect airport employees including security officials, after several CISF men were recently found to be hand in glove with smugglers.
When contacted, Commi-ssioner of Customs at Mumbai airport PM Saleem said, “New preventive officers have joined the airport. Apart from other important training, the officers will also be educated in narcotics control.”
The Big 5
w On October 9, 2011, Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) of Mumbai airport customs intercepted Ugandan national Nakazibwe Irene (26) with five kilogram of heroin concealed in a hollowed out suitcase.
>> On December 14, 2011, AIU detained Ugandan national 25-year-old Diana Musoga, who was carrying 5.5 kg of heroin.
>> On April 7, 2012, AIU intercepted Iyonda Elizabeth, a citizen of Ethiopia, with one kilogram of heroin.
>> On August 22, 2012, AIU arrested Indonesian national Edyma Siregar (45) with four kilogram of cocaine and Vietnam national Ly Loegsle (65) with two kg of cocaine.
>> On August 24, 2012, AIU nabbed Herman Lucky (32) of South Africa with 18 kilogram of banned Amphetamine.