KOCHI: The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) nabbed a Tanzanian national with 4.64 kg of heroin when he arrived at Kochi airport on a flight from Dubai in the early hours of Monday. This is the second incident in the last month in which heroin was seized from an African visitor at Kochi airport.
The arrested person was identified as Ashraf Mtoro, 32, who started his journey from Zanzibar in Tanzania and was holding an e-medical attendant visa. He arrived from Tanzania via Dubai by a flight that arrived in Kochi at around 2.45 am.
"After immigration clearance, the passenger was handed over to DRI officials who recovered the 4.64 kg narcotics concealed inside his check-in trolley bag. The seized contraband looked like frankincense. The passenger will be produced before the court after initial test kit reports. The samples have been sent to a laboratory for further confirmation about the narcotic product," sources said.
Ashraf was directed to stay at a hotel in Kochi and take the train route to New Delhi where he had to hand over the consignment. "It is a New Delhi-based racket that is behind the deal. The drugs were handed over to the passenger by an unidentified person in Tanzania. He also doesn't know the person to whom the consignment has to be delivered," sources said.
Last month, a Zimbabwean national carrying heroin was intercepted by the Narcotics Control Bureau at Kochi airport. NCB officials said as heroin smuggling routes through the land border with Pakistan have been curtailed, air routes are preferred by smugglers.
"As airports like New Delhi and Mumbai are on the alert against smuggling of heroin, the rackets are using other airports to sneak in drugs. The heroin originates from Afghanistan where opium is illegally cultivated. Later, the contraband reaches Pakistan, and is processed as heroin before being smuggled into India. Attempts were made to smuggle heroin via the sea route and major seizures were made this year including from the coast off Kerala," the sources said.