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Cocaine worth Rs 1,500 cr seized at Thoothukudi port
In what seems to be a huge blow to the smuggling network of Latin American drug cartel aided cocaine smuggling chain that runs through India, sleuths from the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence made a seizure of 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, on suspicion, seized six containers stored in the container yard of the terminal located inside the Zone-A of VOC Port Trust, Thoothukudi. These were transhipment containers imported from Panama via Colombo and the consignment was timber logs. DRI sleuths found nine suspicious bags in a container, each containing 30 bricks of white compressed material.
The examination of DRI positively indicated that the seized item, weighing around 303 kg, is cocaine. “The exact type of contraband, quantity and rate can be determined only after a report from examination team of the Narcotics Control Bureau. But the international market value of the cocaine is around Rs 5 to 6 crore per kg,” said an official adding, “The total value of the seized cocaine could be more than Rs 1,500 crore.”
DRI in a release said the “contraband weighed 303 kg and it is highly suspected to be cocaine. The contraband along with cover goods i.e. wooden logs are seized under the provisions of the NDPS Act, 1985.”
Inquiry revealed that the ship bearing the Singapore flag was a regular container feeder vessel plying between Thoothukudi and Colombo. The shipment was apparently sent from the port of Panama. The exporter of the container is believed to be from Texas and the importer is from Sengottai, Tamil Nadu.