KOCHI: Most travellers to Gulf countries booked for drug smuggling flew from Calicut and Cochin airports. The Narcotic Control Bureau (NCB) officers said that a group which has roots in Kasaragod district is most active in smuggling out drugs from various airports and ports in India.
As per the information shared by Qatar with the External Affairs Ministry, the highest number of Indians booked for smuggling drugs at Doha airport boarded flights from Calicut airport. The second-highest number of passengers caught with drugs were from Cochin airport. "After Calicut and Cochin, smugglers also used airports in Mumbai, Chennai and Bengaluru," said a source.
According to an NCB officer, in recent years, the involvement of a Kasaragod-based group was found in all major narcotics seizures reported across India. “However, the kingpin who is running the syndicate is elusive. We could manage to arrest a few carriers who are not aware of the people running the cartel. With the help of some travel agencies, they manage to arrange carriers and operate smuggling activities,” an officer said.
Customs Commissioner Sumit Kumar suspects that drug smugglers are linked with gold smugglers.
“We are checking whether the persons who travel with drugs to Gulf countries are used to smuggle in gold during his return journey. They adopt a hawala money transaction,” he said.