KOCHI: Not just carriers, but smugglers are also using the courier service to bring drugs from various parts of the nation and the globe to Kochi. In the four-and-a-half years between 2018 and June 15, 2022, the excise department has seized different drugs, including 30kg of MDMA (Methylenedioxymethamphetamine), from parcels that arrived in Kochi.
As per the excise department data, nine cases involving a total 69 accused have been registered in the said period under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act in Kochi alone following the seizure of drugs from parcels. The seized drugs include 30.5kg of MDMA, 26.082kg of Ephedrine Hydrochloride (a central nervous system stimulant) and 2.63kg of ganja.
The hike in the seizure of MDMA has surprised the excise department. Ernakulam Excise Deputy Commissioner P V Elias said over 20kg of MDMA was recovered from a seized parcel that destined for Sri Lanka a few years ago. A party drug, MDMA is one of the costliest narcotics substances, costing over Rs 2,000 per gram.
“The quantity of MDMA being frequently seized is very high in Kochi. We are seeing a number of cases in which parcels scanned by customs officials at the Foreign Post Office (FPO) in Kochi are handed over to us on the suspicion that they contain drugs. Since these drugs are brought for peddling from abroad, the number of accused is high,” Elias said, adding that they have directed private courier services to alert the officials upon receiving any suspicious parcel. He said peddlers use the dark web and cryptocurrency to order drugs from abroad.
Elias said they had recently seized “commercial quantity MDMA” (quantity greater than specified by the Centre) was recovered from a parcel at FPO. “The parcel was addressed to a Chirayinkeezhu native, who had procured the drugs from the US using cryptocurrency. However, he mentioned his phone number in the parcel, which is actually strong evidence against him,” said Elias.
Customs officials at FPO claim that they are unable to check all the arriving parcels due to high volume and limited manpower. “All the parcels arriving to Kerala from abroad first reach the FPO. On some days, we receive over 1,000 parcels. Still, our experienced officers are able to intercept a large number of parcels that contain drugs. These parcels are then handed over to the excise department for registering cases and carrying out an investigation,” said a customs official.
Couriers turn carriers in Kochi
- Cases registered after seizure of parcels with drugs: 9
- People arraigned: 69
- MDMA: 30.5kg
- Ephedrine Hydrochloride: 26.08kg
- Ganja: 2.63kg
- LSD: 13.13g
- Hashish Oil: 0.967g
- Other suspected drugs: 18.37g
(Source: Excise dept, Ernakulam)