On Wednesday, the Customs Preventive department seized 23 kg of smuggled gold at Karipur international airport in Kozhikode, Kerala.
According to a report in Hindustan Times, a team of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) and the customs department carried out a joint operation named ‘Desert Storm’ to seize the yellow metal on Thursday.
During the operation, launched after credible intelligence, passengers from seven different flights were searched. The joint team seized nearly 23 kgs of smuggled gold and arrested 23 smugglers, making it the largest single-day haul of yellow metal in recent times in the country.
The arrested smugglers arrived in Kozhikode from various Gulf countries. The joint team also arrested some people who came to receive gold from these passengers.
Kerala – the hotspot of gold smuggling
Kerala has become the main gateway for gold smugglers in the last two years. The customs officials have seized 232kg of yellow metal from the smugglers in recent times.
The customs officials have seized gold at various airports across Kerala. In August last year, customs officials arrested a person from Kannur international airport after finding that he was wearing double-layered jeans.
In addition, smugglers are using novel ways to smuggle gold into the country. Belt buckles, wigs, clothing layers, and various elaborate methods are used to smuggle gold.
Similarly, in Kozhikode, a passenger was arrested for smuggling gold in his face mask. As per the HT report, a woman passenger carrying a baby was found holding a water bottle made of gold. Hiding gold inside the rectum is one of the most common methods.
According to the data tabled in Parliament, Kozhikode airport remains second in the country in terms of the quantity of gold seized. Until November last year, the gold seized at the airport was 128.170 kg, next to Chennai airport, where 130.10 kg was seized. Kochi airport stands third in gold seizures at 62.281 kg of smuggled gold, while Kannur airport recorded a seizure of 28.939kg of gold.