Dubai passenger flies in with four drones, caught

The 25-year-old passenger also had four latest iPhones in his check-in baggage and 1.3 kg of gold in paste in his rectum and socks.

Published: 11th February 2021 03:07 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th February 2021 03:07 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

BENGALURU: While the government has been droning on for some time about the dangers of “uncontrolled civilians” flying drones, there is a black market thriving for these unmanned aerial vehicles. Though the government has put a long list of restrictions for enthusiasts and professionals using drones, the market is growing at a whopping 40 per cent per year, according to some estimates.

In the latest incident, a passenger from Dubai flew in with four China-made drones and landed straight in the net of Customs officials at the Kempegowda International Airport early on Wednesday morning.

The 25-year-old passenger also had four latest iPhones in his check-in baggage and 1.3 kg of gold in paste in his rectum and socks. The total value of the items seized was Rs 75,12,181. The customs officials caught him at 3 am after he alighted from the Emirates flight (EK-568). “It is a rare seizure. Forget four, we don’t even allow one drone per passenger,” said a senior customs official.

‘Flyer tried to smuggle in gold worth Rs 62.35 lakh’

A circular issued on September 20, 2019, by the Investigations Customs Wing of the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs of the Centre’s Revenue Department states, “Drones are required to get equipment type approval (ETA) from the Wireless Planning and Co-ordination Wing of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. There is no exemption for any agency/organisation is this regard.”

The flyer was on the radar as passenger profiling threw up his name. “He is from Ramanathapuram in Tamil Nadu and had left from the Chennai International Airport to Dubai on February 3. We scanned his baggage and found the items,” said another official. 

One iPhone can be bought for personal use, but four such pieces amount to a commercial consignment, he said. The total value of the phones was Rs 4,79.600.The gold paste was in six tiny egg-shaped capsules inside plastic covers. “Three such eggs were concealed in his rectum, while three others inside his socks. The gold paste weighed 1,789 gm and after extraction, we had 1316 gm of gold, valued at Rs 62,35,681” he added.

Each drone priced at Rs 1.2 lakh
The China-made drone was DJI Phantom 4PRO+V2.0 model, which costs around Rs 1,19,900. The passenger had four of them, with a total value of Rs 6.6 lakh


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