The NCB officials, acting on a tip off, seized 18 kg of Ephedrine and 600 grams of N-Acetylanthranilic acid from the air cargo terminal at Cochin International airport last night.
The seized drugs were concealed in big tea kettles and were to be sent to Malaysia, the Bureau's Zonal Director, Chennai Zone, Bruno A, said in an official release today.
Ephedrine, a chemical substance, comes under controlled substances of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act and its export without license attracts 10 years of Rigorous Imprisonment, he said.
It is most important precursor to manufacture methamphetamine, a stimulant party drug, he said.
Since there was huge demand for Ephedrine in Malaysia to manufacture methamphetamine, there has been an increase in smuggling of the drug from South India.
As there has been "intense" screening in Chennai and Bengaluru airports, the smugglers had preferred smaller airports like Kochi to smuggle the "contraband", Bruno said.
The drugs seized were estimated at Rs one crore in the 'international market' and further investigation was on, he said.