The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has busted an international drug smuggling racket with the seizure of over half a kg of cocaine couriered from Trinidad & Tobago to Mumbai. Four persons, including two Nigerian nationals, have been arrested.
Codenamed ‘Calypso’, the operation spanning three days was carried out in Mumbai and Rajasthan’s Udaipur.
The agency initially intercepted a courier packet containing a steam iron press, inside of which 504 gram of cocaine was found. The packet, which had been sent from Trinidad & Tobago to Mumbai, was seized. However, nabbing the intended recipients of the contraband was a major challenge, said an official.
A trap was laid to catch the person who was to get the consignment on November 17 evening. A woman turned up to receive the packet and was detained.
During questioning, she disclosed that the packet had to be handed over to a Nigerian national operating in Navi Mumbai, the official said.
“Teams were quickly formed and dispatched to the pre-determined delivery area in Navi Mumbai,” said the DRI in a statement, adding that the woman was taken along.
An elaborate plan was made to avoid raising any suspicion while zeroing in on the other accused. The services of an App-based taxi were also taken.
The DRI officials in plainclothes waited for the suspect, who came after about an hour and approached the taxi in which the woman was waiting with the consignment.
He attempted to take the parcel when he was overpowered by the DRI officials. Another Nigerian national, who was some distance away in an autorickshaw, tried to escape when he saw his accomplice getting caught.
What followed was a hot pursuit during which the suspect jumped off the moving autorickshaw and started running.
After an almost one-km dramatic chase on foot, in autorickshaw and car — across a busy and populated suburb of Mumbai — the third accused was also nabbed.
The agency then identified another Mumbai-based woman who was part of the racket and was “holidaying” in Udaipur.
Another DRI team from Ahmedabad unit reached Udaipur in the dead of the night and, after some legwork, tracked down the accused to a hotel.
The officials kept a close watch throughout night and on November 18 morning, arrested her with the help of Udaipur Police. She was brought to Mumbai on transit demand.
A history-sheeter, the accused had been arrested by the Mumbai Police last year. The other woman accused also has a criminal background. The two had met each other in jail.
Investigations have revealed that the syndicate had cleared multiple consignments of cocaine in the past. About 3.30 kg of the stuff worth over ₹20 crore had been smuggled in using the same modus operandi since August.