KOCHI: With the Christmas and New Year celebrations just round the corner, global drug syndicates are likely to spread their tentacles to the city which has lately emerged as a major destination for psychedelic drugs including the deadly cocaine. A Venezuelan national's arrest by the Narcotic Control Bureau (NCB) at the Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) here on Thursday, who was held with cocaine, has confirmed fears of transnational drug smugglers eyeing the state's commercial capital to further their shadowy business.
Harly Gabriel Castro Carreno, 36, who arrived at a flight from Sao Paulo in Brazil, had concealed the cocaine in capsules and he swallowed them before being arrested by the NCB officers.
"The international drug rackets are in the picture now. Earlier, drugs like cocaine used to come in from Goa in small quantities. However, considering the high demand, the international rackets have started direct operations to Kerala, mainly Kochi," said Venugopal Kurup, NCB superintendent.Harly was just a carrier while the kingpin of the racket is based in Brazil, said NCB officers. "On November 19, we had arrested a Paraguayan national who in similar fashion had tried to smuggle in 3.5 kg of cocaine. Harly is also part of the same racket. The racket also includes several Nigerians," Venugopal said.
The cocaine was concealed inside capsules in a special manner which prevented them from getting diluted once ingested. "The capsules are tightly packed and sealed from outside so it will not dilute once they are ingested. We have admitted the accused to the Ernakulam Medical College. The capsules can be recovered only by getting him to empty his bowels and laxatives have been given to him. Only then can we confirm the quantity of cocaine he was trying to smuggle in, " an officer said.
NCB officers said they had come to know about rave parties being held in the city and they had conducted raids recently. "It is true rave parties are taking place in Kochi. As part of the vigil mounted in the run-up to New Year, we have intensified checks at hotels and the parties being held here. Similarly, the police have become active," an officer said. However, several rave parties are still being held at houses and rural areas of the district. "Since the checking has intensified within the city limits, the parties are being held clandestinely in the coastal areas as well as forest regions of the district. We have also come across cases in which rave parties were conducted at apartments," the officer said.