Saturday, November 11, 2017

Couriers prefer low-cost flights in wee hours

Chennai: Smuggling in gold without intelligence agencies being able to detect it is a well-oiled operation. Couriers not only work on 'pre-production', they also choose flights arriving at a certain time to make it difficult for officials on their lookout.
An analysis of gold seizures made by Chennai airport customs over the past three months shows that carriers flying in from Singapore, Dubai, Colombo and Sharjah prefer flights that arrive at the airport between midnight and 5am. Most of the couriers take flights like 6E-066 Indigo Airlines from Dubai, SriLankan Airlines UL126, Air India 968 (via Trivandrum) and Scoot Airlines TR 502.
Sources said low-cost carriers are preferred by smuggling gangs because the flights are full. This makes detection at the customs check difficult. Also, it is economical even if the courier is bringing in only a small amount of gold. A carrier can make up to 10 trips a month although he risks being easily identified by officials.
Couriers are paid according to the amount of gold they are willing to carry. Most opt for a package consisting of gold less than 710 grams because anything more than that would be worth `20 lakh, which, if detected by customs or DRI, would put them in prison.
To smuggle in a larger consignment, kingpins employ a multitude of carriers to bring gold through a flight. Last month, DRI had busted a smuggling ring where 29 people on two flights landed in Madurai with gold hidden in their rectum.
11/11/7 Times of India

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