CHENNAI: In what being seen as a crackdown on international drug cartels having their base in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) made a major haul of heroin and meth, worth of over Rs 5 crore on international market, from a passenger bound to Kuwait, at Chennai International Airport on Saturday.
The NCB sleuths, who arrived at the airport with specific inputs that the drugs were being smuggled in the Chennai-Sharjah Air Arabian flight, began profiling the passengers bound to West Asia. The officials checked the bags of one Rajendran Sheshathri of Kumbakonam, who was suspected to be part of a Kuwait-based drug cartel and was about to board the flight.
When nothing was found in his hand luggage, the NCB officials called for his ‘checked in’ trolley bag in which they found 2.28 kg of drugs packed in polythene inside a cardboard.
Rajendran claimed it was milk powder that was to be delivered to his friend in Kuwait. A lab test established that it was contraband - 1.16 kg heroin and 1.02 kg meth.
Rajendran confessed that he had procured the drug from a person in Kerala and also spilled the beans about three of his associates, waiting outside the airport to confirm his departure to their contacts in Kuwait soon after the flight took off.
The trio, identified as Mohamed Ibrahim of Tiruvarur, Mohamed Rabeek of Kumbakonam, and Vijayakumar of Tiruvarur, were also picked up by NCB officials. All four were booked under provisions of Narcotics Drug and Psychotropic Substances Act and arrested.
According to enforcement agencies, the demand for meth had shot up in the international market and there were attempts to set up meth labs in nondescript villages and towns in the State. On March 23 last year, NCB bust a meth lab in a village near Sivaganga from where they seized huge amounts of meth worth several crores of rupees and arrested five persons, including two Iranian nationals and a Chennai man.