In an apparent blow to the smuggling network of Latin American drug cartel aided cocaine smuggling chain in India, sleuths from the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence seized 303 kg of narcotics worth over Rs 1,500 crore from containers at Thoothukudi port, on Tuesday. The contraband was found in containers believed to have arrived from Panama via Colombo.
On Tuesday evening the DRI officials from Madurai seized six suspicious containers stored in the container yard of the container termina located inside the Zone-‘A’ of VOC Port Trust Thoothukudi. These were transshipment containers imported from Panama via Colombo and the consignment was timber logs. During a subsequent search DRI sleuths found nine suspicious bags in a container. Each bag contained 30 bricks of white compressed material highly suspected to be cocaine. The total weight of the seized drug was around 303 kg.
"The exact type of contraband item, quantity and rate can be determined only after report from examination team of the Narcotics Control Bureau. But, the international market value of cocaine is around Rs 5 to 6 crore per kg, according to officials. The total value of the seized cocaine could be more than Rs 1,500 crore," an official said. DRI release a statement confirming that the "contraband weighed 303 kg and it is highly suspected to be cocaine. The contraband along with cover goods i.e. wooden logs have been seized under the provisions of the NDPS Act, 1985." Inquiy revealed that the ship bearing the flag of Singapore was a regular container feeder vessel plying between Thoothukudi and Colombo and vice-versa. It arrived at 10.30 am on Tuesday and uploaded the shipment containers from Colombo and landed them to Thoothukudi. The shipment was apparently sent from the port of Panama. Exporter of container is believed to be from Texas and importer is from Shencottah, Tamil Nadu.