Sunday, May 13, 2018

Drug flow through Kochi leaves agencies puzzled

Even as anti-narcotic agencies have intensified their hunt for international passengers landing in Kochi with narcotic consignments, the huge volume of drugs being pushed through the airport has indeed left the agencies puzzled.

In Kochi airport, the fourth busiest international airport in the country, the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) confiscated cocaine having an estimated illicit market value of around ₹60 crore in four separate cases over the past six months. While Brazil remained the single most important shipping point for all the consignments, all but one of the carriers were from South America.

According to the agencies, international drug cartels, faced with intense scrutiny on familiar import routes, may have been obliged to find new destinations for drug pushing on a regular basis.

Accordingly, carriers, mostly from the Spanish-speaking South American countries, have begun landing at various airports either after swallowing the stuff or slipping it in their baggage, they held.

Anti-narcotic officials, meanwhile, vouch for the fact that Kochi is only a transit point for the stuff, probably destined to party destinations like Goa or Bengaluru. They, however, have not been able to confirm it as even those arrested carriers had no clear idea as to where they were heading to. Indeed, the carriers had only been asked by their respective handlers to wait for further instructions with regard to their onward movement, either at any city hotel or at the airport itself. Adding to the investigators’ woes, these cartels have strictly confined their communication to the Internet, making it practically impossible to trace the origin of the messages.
12/05/18 U. Hiran/The Hindu