Customs officials at the Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru seized five kilograms of ephedrine on Friday. Ephedrine is used for medication and can be abused as a stimulant. It can also be used to manufacture methamphetamine using certain chemical reactions. It is a controlled substance covered under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985.
The drug peddlers had concealed the ephedrine in 43 wedding invitations that were due for shipping to Australia.
Customs officials at the #Bengaluru airport seize 5 kg of ephedrine, concealed in wedding invitations that were to be shipped to Australia. Imagine how innovative and alert the officials have to be to counter this menace. pic.twitter.com/GqqWwNDqWR
— Snehesh Alex Philip (@sneheshphilip) February 23, 2020
As per reports, the drug was concealed in 86 pouches and the entire quantity is approximately worth Rs. 5.05 crores. “During verification of export consignment at the courier terminal of Air Cargo Complex, Bengaluru, the officers of Central Intelligence Unit, Air Cargo Complex intercepted an export cargo on February 21. Preliminary scanning of the package indicated the concealment of powder. Detailed examination of the package was done and it was found to contain 43 invitation cards and garments,” Joint Commissioner of Customs, M.J. Chethan, said in a statement.
A total of 86 ephedrine pouches were found expertly concealed within two-sided cardboard of the 43 invitation cards.
“The invitation cards made of cardboard were two-sided and foldable. On cutting open the 43 invitation cards, white crystalline powder was found packed in polythene pouches which had been concealed between the cardboard layers of each side in each of the 43 cards,” he added. Only on the 18th of February, 5 kg of Ephedrine valued at Rs 5 crore in the international market was seized by customs officers of the Air Cargo Complex. This consignment was due to be shipped to Australia as well.
Officials suspect a link between the two consignments. “That consignment of ephedrine, worth over Rs 5 crore in the grey market, was concealed in bobbins, and was also reportedly booked by the same person at Madurai to be smuggled to Australia,” an officer was quoted by The New Indian Express as saying. “We will coordinate with our counterparts in Australia to get a larger picture of the smuggling of contraband drugs,” he added.
It is also reported that the particular courier company was selected because it is the only company in South India to have a gateway to Australia through Bengaluru.
“If you consider both hauls, then the value is estimated to be about ₹10 crores. We are also verifying with the courier agencies and the company that printed the wedding cards,” said a police officer as per The Hindu.