The Directorate of Revenue and Intelligence (DRI) ran a three-day long operation codenamed “Operation Calypso” to bust an international drugs smuggling racket wherein cocaine was concealed in a steam press iron from Trinidad and Tobago to Mumbai, people familiar with the development said. Four persons—two Africans and two Indian women—have been arrested, and cocaine weighing 504 grams worth Rs3 crore to Rs4 crore in international market, has been recovered, they said.
Investigations have also revealed that this syndicate smuggled multiple consignments of cocaine in the past; the total quantity of cocaine smuggled via the same modus operandi is over 3.3kg since August 2020, valued at over Rs20 crore.
DRI, Mumbai, had received an intelligence input from a reliable source about cocaine being smuggled to Mumbai from Trinidad and Tobago.
“We immediately swung into action and as expected, during prior verification, the address declared on the courier packet appeared suspicious, thereby suggesting it would be challenging to intercept the Indian recipients of the contraband. We first intercepted the consignment and ascertained the presence of cocaine. Thereafter, we kept discreet watch and when a woman came to pick up the consignment on November 17, she was apprehended by the team,” said an officer.
The woman disclosed during interrogation that the package containing the contraband was to be delivered to an African national in Navi Mumbai.
“Teams were quickly formed and dispatched to Navi Mumbai. To make the delivery appear more realistic, the services of an app-based taxi were also availed. The teams lay in wait for nearly an hour, after which one African national approached the taxi in which the lady was waiting with the consignment. When he attempted to take the parcel, he was immediately overpowered by DRI officers hanging around incognito. An accomplice of the African national was waiting nearby in an auto. On seeing his accomplice nabbed, the other African national immediately fled,” said a second officer.
“We set off in hot pursuit and when his auto was about to be intercepted, the African national jumped off the moving auto and began running. However, after a chase of almost a kilometre on foot, auto and car, the accomplice was also nabbed,” said the second officer.
The DRI officials cited above said that role of another Mumbai-based woman was also uncovered during the operation. “Sources confirmed that this woman was currently holidaying in Udaipur. Another DRI team from the Ahmedabad unit was swiftly assembled and it reached Udaipur in the dead of the night. The DRI team was able to zero in on the exact location of the woman in Udaipur. They kept watch over the hotel and in the morning of November 18, with the assistance of Udaipur Police, the woman was apprehended. She was then arrested by DRI and, with magisterial permission, she was brought to Mumbai on transit remand on Wednesday night,” said the first officer.
“It then also came to light that this woman was a history-sheeter who was arrested by Mumbai Police only last year. The woman who had come to collect the parcel from the courier company also has a criminal background and both ladies had met while they were in jail last year,” he said.
In all, four persons have been arrested.
“The operation being carried out by DRI has thrown up a sophisticated cartel of international drug smugglers. The immaculately executed ‘Operation Calypso’ has once again shown DRI’s commitment to fighting international drug cartels and ability to plan and execute complex operations, all while strictly adhering to the letter and spirit of the law,” said a third officer.
Courtesy – Hindustan Times