KOCHI: Jonna De Torres, the Filipina arrested by the Narcotic Control Bureau (NCB) the other day for smuggling 4.7 kg of cocaine from the Nedumbassery airport was hired by a Brazilian drug cartel for $4,000. The NCB also received information that Torres acted as a drugs carrier several times in the past but this is her first trip to India.
NCB officers found her passport was issued in 2013 and she was staying in Hong Kong, working as a domestic caretaker. She visited Brazil for five days and had been there in 2015. She got around $2000-$4000 for smuggling drugs. This time she was hired for $4000 US Dollars.
“Torres has admitted to smuggling drugs on several occasions. It was her first attempt to transport drugs to India. She said a Brazilian who she did not know visited her at Sao Paulo and handed over two baggage, one a trolley bag and another a handbag. The cocaine was concealed in the trolley bag. The booking of her flight ticket and a room at a hotel in Ernakulam North was done by someone from Sao Paulo,” said an officer.
Though NCB officers interrogated Torres for several hours, she did not name anyone.“Identifying the kingpins behind the racket is a daunting task. Though several calls were made to Torres’ mobile, they were all done from Brazil mobile phone numbers. She also received several internet calls. It will not be easy to receive information about the persons in Brazil using the mobile phone numbers. The Brazilian had asked her to wait in the hotel room. She did not know whether someone would come to collect consignment at the hotel or she would take it to another city,” the NCB officer said.
The officer said the drug racket chose Nedumbassery airport to carry out the smuggling believing the checking there will be minimal. “In two previous incidents, we arrested a Paraguay national and a Venezuelan with cocaine. The cocaine was to be transported to Goa and New Delhi. Since checking has been intensified at airports like Mumbai, New Delhi and Goa, the racket is attempting to smuggle cocaine via airports in tier-II cities. In Mumbai, New Delhi and Goa, the luggage of tourists from South American countries is thoroughly checked to prevent drug smuggling,” the officer said.NCB was also surprised to see how the baggage containing cocaine went undetected at two international airports from where Torres reached Kochi. She had started from Sao Paulo and reached Addis Ababa from where she reached Kochi via Muscat. NCB officers collected the details of the room booking made for her in Ernakulam.
“The room was booked using an online website. We are verifying the e-mail ID and phone number given to book the room,” an officer said. Torres was produced before a magistrate and remanded in judicial custody.