Three passengers aboard a Sri Lankan Airlines flight were taken into custody by the Customs at the International Airport here on Tuesday with 100 kg red sandalwood worth Rs 8 lakh. They had been identified as Maheen Abubaker, Krishnan Nair and Balaraman.
Customs officials said that based on a tip-off regarding the smuggling they received after the flight was airborne at 9.45 am, they recalled the flight after consultations with the airport authorities.
The customs officials, out of suspicion, checked the luggage of six passengers, after the flight landed and in the search they found that 100 kg of red sandalwood were cut into pieces in as many as six baggage.
According to the officials the three were planning to smuggle it to Bangkok.
“As the red sandalwood were covered with a black material it was not detected by the automatic scanning machines. However, when we searched it manually, the sandalwood pieces were detected.” Meanwhile, the customs officials confirmed that arrest couldn’t be effected as the quantity the individuals tried to export was allowed as per the norms. “However they were charged for violating the Wildlife Protection Act and the Foreign Trade Act,” Customs Assistant Commissioner Sanjay said.
The seizure was done by a team headed by Assistant Commissioners Sanjay Bangartale and Anup Kumar, Air Intelligence Unit Superintendents K Balachandran, Sheela and Intelligence Officers Ajithkumar, Rajkumar and Sugunan.