Tribune News Service
New Delhi, November 19
The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) on Thursday said it had busted an international racket of drug smuggling, as it seized over 500 grams of cocaine and arrested four people – two Indian women and two African nationals.
Officials in the DRI said that in an elaborate operation spread out over three days, which was codenamed ‘Operation Calypso’, the agency sleuths seized 504 grams of cocaine concealed in a steam press iron sent by courier from Trinidad and Tobago to Mumbai.
The operation was launched following a reliable source-based intelligence that cocaine, concealed in a courier package of steam iron, has originated from Trinidad and Tobago with a destination in Mumbai, the officials said, adding that the banned substance is the most sought-after illicit drug in high society circles.
“DRI officers immediately swung into action and as expected, during prior verification the address declared on the courier packet appeared suspicious, thereby suggesting that challenge would come during intercepting the Indian recipients of the contraband,” a senior agency official said.
According to the officials, the agency sleuths first intercepted the consignment and ascertained the presence of cocaine and then kept a discreet watch and when a woman came to take delivery of the consignment on November 17, she was apprehended by the team.
After a brief but intense grilling of the woman, the sleuths came to know that the package containing the contraband was to be delivered to an African national based in Navi Mumbai. “Teams were quickly formed and dispatched to the predetermined delivery area in Navi Mumbai and the woman was taken to the place,” said another official.
“To make the delivery appear realc, the services of an app-based taxi were availed. The teams lay in wait for nearly an hour after which an African national approached the taxi in which the woman was waiting. When he attempted to take the parcel, he was overpowered by the sleuths. An accomplice of the African national was also apprehended,” said the DRI official.
During this, the role of another Mumbai-based woman in the drug smuggling racket was uncovered, the officials said, adding that sources confirmed that this woman was currently holidaying in Udaipur. Then another DRI team from Ahmedabad was dispatched to Udaipur and with the help of local police the woman was apprehended and was taken to Mumbai on transit remand, they said.
The officials said it also came to light that the second apprehended woman was a history-sheeter, who was arrested by Mumbai police only last year and the woman who had come to collect the parcel from the courier company also had a criminal background and both women had networked while they were in jail last year.
“Investigations have revealed that this syndicate had cleared multiple consignments of cocaine in the past and the total quantity of cocaine smuggled by the same modus operandi was over 3.3 kg since August 2020, priced at Rs 20 crore,” another DRI official said.