The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) on Friday arrested a Nigerian national outside a five-star hotel at Juhu and allegedly recovered 10-12 cocaine-filled capsules from his mouth.
He was rushed to Sir JJ Hospital where after X-ray and CT-scan, it was found that the accused was allegedly carrying more drugs. The doctors tried to eject the drug-filled capsules from his body.
NCB zonal director Sameer Wankhede said, “The accused has been arrested. He is in JJ Hospital and the doctors are trying to eject more drugs from his abdomen”.
Officers are probing how the accused had entered the country and if he is staying on a valid visa or illegally and since how long has he been in the drug smuggling racket, said Wankhede.
On the basis of preliminary inquiry, it appears that the accused has been smuggling cocaine into the city, said officers. He has a bracket in his mouth where he used to hid drugs (capsules filled with cocaine) and then wait outside five star hotels where customers approach him for the contraband, an NCB officer said.
After a tip-off, a team from NCB laid a trap outside the Juhu hotel and nabbed the Nigerian national. During inquiry, he removed some capsules from his mouth which he was hiding in a bracket, said the officer.
NCB officers said while following such a modus operandi, the smuggler does not eat anything because the movement in abdomen could rupture the capsules, leading to death.
“In such cases, during preliminary inquiry, we offer them food, and if they refuse, our suspicion gets fortified. The X-ray and CT scan tests were carried out in this case, following a court order,” added the officer.
This is an old modus operandi, mostly used by smugglers to avoid being caught at airports. Once drugs are smuggled into the city, the smugglers use peddlers – mostly foreigners who come on business or education visa – to approach customers. The method is used to reduce the risk of getting caught. In the illicit market, one gram cocaine is worth between Rs5,000 and Rs10,000, depending on quality of the contraband material, said the officer.
In 2013, in a similar case, the Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) of Mumbai customs had arrested two Tanzanian nationals at Mumbai airport for allegedly smuggling cocaine by ingesting capsules. One of them died on the way to hospital after the capsules exploded inside his abdomen.