Cocaine worth Rs.50 million seized in Pune

Pune, Oct 12 (IANS) In one of the biggest seizures, the Pune customs (preventive wing) have seized a cocaine consignment worth around Rs.50 million ($1 million) from courier packets bound for Australia and South Africa, an official said here Tuesday.

A Nigerian national, identified as Ogonna Philip Nwuchukwu, 27, has been arrested for acting as a conduit for the consignment, said Subhash Shinde, Pune assistant commissioner of customs (preventive wing).

The cocaine consignment – weighing 870 gm – was found concealed in two separate courier packets which were despatched and sent to Pune from New Delhi by a professional courier company.

Acting on a tip-off, the customs laid a trap and managed to nab the accused last Friday (Oct 8) when he had already succeeded in delivering one packet to a courier agency for its onward journey.

‘The first consignment of 370 gm was found packed in folding paper lanterns which were bound for Australia, and the second lot of 500 gm was found in a packet containing a toy elephant bound for South Africa,’ Shinde told IANS.

After he spilled the beans on the second courier, the customs sleuths rushed to the courier company and managed to recover it before it could be sent to South Africa.

The department suspects that Pune might be getting used as a mini-hub by the international drug mafia for transporting banned substances, especially in view of the large number of foreign students and employees in IT companies here.

The Nigerian national, who has been remanded to custody till Oct 15, gave the names and addresses of his associates in New Delhi, but all proved to be false, Shinde said.

The department is now checking courier companies which could be unwittingly transporting such banned substances as per the international drug mafia’s conspiracy.

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