KOCHI: The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), which is probing the seizure of 2.91kg of heroin from a Zimbabwean national, suspects that the accused was a frequent flyer to India. Chigaza Sharon was intercepted by a team led by NCB superintendent Ashish Ojha at the airport while she transited to New Delhi via Bengaluru and Kochi airport on Saturday evening. Sharon had started her journey from Johannesburg in South Africa.
To unearth details of the drug smuggling syndicate, Chigaza was quizzed by the NCB on Sunday. “She admitted to interrogators that she has been to New Delhi and Bengaluru before. She didn’t know that the consignment she handed over to persons in Bengaluru and New Delhi contained drugs. However, this was her first visit to Kochi. She is suspected to be the member of a drug smuggling syndicate which is active in the country. The contraband seized from her is worth over K20 crore,” said a Kochi airport official. Meanwhile, as per the NCB’s preliminary findings, the heroin recovered from Chigaza Sharon is of Afghan origin.
“An investigation is on into the source of the heroin. Based on the quality of the contraband seized, it must have originated from Afghanistan. Most likely, the African drug cartel was the main supplier. We suspect that the drug was to be supplied to someone in Bengaluru. After handing over the consignment to an unidentified person in Bengaluru, the accused was to proceed to New Delhi where she would have received the remuneration online,” an NCB official said.
The NCB also received information that two other foreign nationals, who accompanied Chigaza, had reached New Delhi on Sunday morning. “We have identified them. They are foreign nationals who started from Qatar. We have shared information to our units in Bengaluru and New Delhi. They will be arrested soon. We don’t know whether they were also carrying drugs during the transit via Kochi airport,” the NCB official said.
This year, over 500kg of heroin was recovered on transit via airport and sea route in Kochi. Before the arrest of Zimbabwean national, the Coast Guard had intercepted four Sri Lankan fishing vessels with heroin in separate incidents off Kerala.