Frocks, flasks, cans and fans: Smugglers try every trick at airports but fail to fox customs
Criminals are adopting a new modus operandi to smuggle goods into the country and also out of it
Officials at airports of India are not only facing a tough time to keep a check on the spread of the coronavirus but are also faced with innovative modus operandi being used by criminals to smuggle goods into the country and also out of it.
From concealing banned goods in vacuum flasks, deodorant bottles, exhaust fans, bodybuilding equipment and even kidswear, smugglers are trying it all.
Varanasi airport: Officials at the Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport in Varanasi confiscated gold weighing 333.65 grams and an iPhone from a woman passenger coming from Sharjah on Friday (February 19). Interestingly, the gold was hidden as a foil at the bottom of a vacuum flask and in the inner wall of a deodorant bottle.
The gold recovered by the airport authority was worth Rs 16.71 lakh and the iPhone was priced at Rs 74,210, making it a total recovery of over Rs 17 lakh.
“A new modus operandi was adopted wherein the gold foil was concealed inside the bottom part of a steel flask and the inner walls of a deodorant bottle. One hundred and thirty-six pieces of small nickel-coated gold rings were also used between each pair of beads in a chain apart from a gold anklet (payal) coated with grey metal, gold bangles and an earring," said a senior customs department official.
Gold seized by officials at Varanasi airport. Image courtesy: Customs department
Jaipur International Airport: The customs department arrested a man at Jaipur International Airport on Saturday (February 20) morning for carrying about 1.5 kg of gold valued at Rs 70.62 lakh. The person was travelling from Sharjah and the gold was in the form of two bricks, each weighing about 750 grams.
The passenger identified as Shrawan Kumar (26), works in the civil construction sector in Sharjah.
“Gold was hidden in two shoes and was to be delivered to an unknown person," a customs department official said. Earlier this week, 200 grams of gold bricks were confiscated at the airport by the customs department from a passenger who was also travelling from Sharjah.
Consignment of gold seized at Jaipur airport. Image courtesy: Customs department
Amritsar airport: Similarly, on Friday (February 19), the customs department at the Amritsar airport intercepted a man who had arrived from Dubai via Air India Express Flight IX1192. He was carrying gold concealed in an exhaust fan and bodybuilding equipment. The accused had moulded gold into electrical appliance parts. The total quantity of gold seized is over 750 grams worth Rs. 35.87 lakh.
Goods seized at Amritsar airport. Image courtesy: Customs department
Materials used by criminals to smuggle goods seized at Amritsar airport. Image courtesy: Customs department
Delhi airport: If this was not enough, drug smugglers had started hiding banned drugs inside kidswear. Officers of Air Cargo Customs Export at Foreign Post Office, Delhi seized 132 grams of suspected heroin from a parcel destined for Australia.
Officials said the narcotic substance was concealed in girls' frocks. Recently the customs department had seized a consignment of lehenga or traditional Indian women's wear in which drugs were being smuggled.
Drugs being smuggled inside kidswear seized at Delhi airport. Image courtesy: Customs department
Meanwhile, on Saturday (February 20), two men were arrested at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport by customs officials for attempting to smuggle gold worth over Rs 3 crore into the country.
After their arrival from Dubai, the suspects -- both Delhi residents -- were intercepted. During the examination of one of them and checking of his baggage, gold pieces weighing 4.1 kg and valued at Rs 1.77 crore were found, said Shaukat Ali Nurvi, Joint Commissioner of Customs at the IGI Airport.
Gold recovered at Delhi airport. Image courtesy: Customs department
Under a voluntary statement, the passengers disclosed that he had also smuggled gold weighing 2.5 kg valued at Rs 1.11 crore during his earlier visits. Hence, his total offence value amounted to Rs 2.89 crore, the customs statement added.
Furthermore, during the examination of the baggage of the second passenger, gold pieces weighing 3.6 kg valued at Rs 1.58 crore were recovered.
Under a voluntary statement, he disclosed that he had smuggled gold weighing 2.6 kg valued at Rs 1.16 crore during his earlier visits. Hence, his total offence value amounted to Rs 2.74 crore, the statement said. Thus, the consolidated value of offence of both the passengers amounted to Rs 5.68 crore and they were arrested, the statement said.