Mumbai

Four foreign nationals held for smuggling cocaine in curtains

Police personnel with the four accused at the DCP Zone IX office in Bandra on Sunday.

Police personnel with the four accused at the DCP Zone IX office in Bandra on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: Prashant Waydande

Drug worth ₹39 crore, which was be couriered to South Africa, seized

Four foreign nationals were arrested in Andheri on Sunday for allegedly smuggling cocaine out of the country. The Amboli police have seized cocaine worth ₹39 crore from them. The accused would allegedly load the cocaine inside rings on a curtain and send them abroad by courier.

According to the police, the accused were arrested from Maurya Estate Road, Andheri, based on information from a source. After interrogating the accused, 6 kg cocaine, worth ₹39 crore, was seized from Navi Mumbai.

“The accused, Niras Okhovo (35), Simon Agobata (32), Michael Hope (29) from Nigeria, and Karle Pinto (41) from Brazil, used to work as a team to send cocaine to other countries. This time they were set to send the cocaine to South Africa,” Dr. Manoj Kumar Sharma, Additional Commissioner of Police, Western Region, said.

The method

The cocaine, police said, would be sent through the grommets of the curtains. “The accused used to purchase curtains in bulk and fill the cocaine in the metallic rings on them. They would pack it with some machine so that the drugs could not be identified during checking. The work was distributed between them, from purchasing curtains to sending the drug to other countries,” Mr. Sharma said. He said some cocaine would also be sent through the boxes of the threads which are used to decorate curtains.

Police officials carry confiscated drugs and other material.

Police officials carry confiscated drugs and other material.   | Photo Credit: Prashant Waydande

“While interrogating them, we came to know that one such consignment has already gone from India. There are also some courier services involved in sending the packages to other countries. We are conducting inquiries with some of them to know if they had any idea about cocaine being sent through the curtains,” Mr. Sharma said.

The police said Ms. Pinto was released from Byculla Jail three months ago, where she had been lodged after being punished under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act three years ago.

One more suspect

“We have also seized a huge bundle of curtains, boxes of threads used in the curtains, and the machine through which the drugs used to be filled in the grommets. We also suspect there is one more accused involved in this case, and are looking for him/her,” Mr. Sharma said.

All four accused were presented in court, which remanded them in police custody for seven days.

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Printable version | Feb 22, 2020 1:34:06 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/four-foreign-nationals-held-for-smuggling-cocaine-in-curtains/article26231770.ece

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