Excise to crack down on drug movement around airport


Crack teams to conduct surprise checks along roads leading up to CIAL

The Excise Department has introduced a unique special crack team along the roads leading up to Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) to counter drug movements to and from the airport.

The team has been constituted by drawing officials from the excise units at Aluva and Ernakulam.

Their deployment will be in sync with the schedule of select flight movement at the airport.

They will be be on the roads at the appointed hour to search vehicles. The department has chosen to keep under wraps details of specific flight movements when the team springs into action for surprise checks.

“The decision to deploy such a team was based on information that drug movements were taking place to and from the airport, with Kochi fast emerging as a major transit point. We hope that the experiment will pay dividends,” K. Chandrapalan, Deputy Excise Commissioner, Ernakulam, told The Hindu.

Huge haul

In February this year, an excise special squad intercepted a car bound for the Kochi airport and seized five kilograms of MDMA (Methylenedioxymethamphetamine) worth ₹30 crore from two men at Athany.

The contraband was to be handed over to two other men at the airport who were to take it to Kuwait. That operation was mounted based on a specific tip-off. The formation of the crack team is part of the department’s efforts to institutionalise such a preventive mechanism to counter drug movements to and from the airport rather than relying mostly on tip-offs.

The department had also seized 32 kilograms of MDMA worth about ₹200 crore from a courier company in September.

The consignment was to be sent as air cargo to Malaysia. However, the carrier failed to provide the address on time and the courier agent got suspicious and alerted excise sleuths.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2020 7:51:36 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/excise-to-crack-down-on-drug-movement-around-airport/article25854421.ece

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