KOCHI: The El Salvador national arrested with 2 kg of cocaine by Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) from Cochin International Airport the other day had booked a room at a homestay in Kochi before arriving here. The NCB team unearthed the detail during the interrogation of Dura Sola Johny Alexander, 35, a mobile handset seller in El Salvador who was arrested with the drugs. The NCB team interrogated Johny with the aid of a Spanish translator.
“Johny arrived in Kochi by taking the ‘e-visa on arrival’ facility. He was planning to extend his visa, initially valid for a nine-day stay in India, to a few more months. He booked a room at a well-known homestay in Kochi,” said NCB officers. They said they are yet to get information about the person to whom Johny was supposed to hand over the cocaine. “Johny would have been informed about the identity of the receiver while his stay in Kochi,” the officers said.
They said they suspect the drug cartel based in Sao Paulo, Brazil, to be the source of the cocaine seized. In the four similar drugs seizure effected at the airport in the past six months, the drugs were brought from there. “In El Salvador, Johny used to repair damaged mobile sets and sell it in the second-hand market. This was his maiden journey to India. During interrogation, he claimed this was his first drug smuggling attempt. However, his passport details reveal he has been to other countries,” the officer said.
NCB officers suspect this is the same racket involved in sending drugs to India from Brazil. “Kerala was not the cocaine’s ultimate destination. We are yet to ascertain where it was headed to. The carrier decided to travel via Kochi suspecting intense checking at the other airports,” an NCB officer said. The demand for cocaine is not as high in Kerala as in Goa and other metro cities. Johny was produced before Angamaly Judicial First Class Magistrate Court on Wednesday and remanded in judicial custody. NCB will soon seek his custody for further probe.