Customs arrests West African citizen for smuggling cocaine worth ₹3.75 crore


Within 24 hours, the Customs department arrested a 50-year-old woman, a citizen of West African country- Sierra Leone, allegedly smuggling cocaine worth ₹3.75 crore and also seized 4.5 kg of gold worth nearly ₹2 crore from five passengers from Mumbai airport.

Based on a specific tip-off, the Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) officials of the Customs on Thursday evening intercepted the woman Bintu Janneh, near the arrival hall of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport. She had concealed the contraband in her handbag and was supposed to deliver it to a person in Mumbai.

Examination of her handbag led to recovery of 500 grams of cocaine, said Customs officials.

She was detained and subjected to sustained questioning. During interrogation, she revealed that she hails from a poor family and was offered commission by an unknown person for delivering the consignment to his brother in Mumbai. The packet was handed over to her at Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia.

She, however, claimed that she had no idea about the person who was supposed to take delivery of the packet from her. Customs officers are trying to identify her associates.

After ascertaining her role as a carrier in the drug smuggling racket, Customs department on Friday booked her under relevant sections of the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, and put her under arrest. A holiday court has remanded her to 14-days judicial custody.

The Customs department also seized 4.5 kg of gold worth nearly ₹2 crore from five passengers at the city airport on Wednesday. The passengers smuggled the gold using ingenious modus. According to Customs officers, on August 17, in three different cases three passengers were detained for smuggling gold by concealing the precious metal in the toilet and seats of Calicut-Mumbai flight, which had earlier landed from Sharjah. In two other cases, two passengers had smuggled the precious metal in the form of paste hidden inside clothes in their baggage. They had travelled by a Dubai-Mumbai flight. Customs officials are checking if there is a common link between the five accused.

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