Drugs worth USD54K hidden in orthotic belts, trophies bound for Australia, seized in Chennai

Chennai, Tamil NaduWritten By: Sidharth MPUpdated: Sep 08, 2020, 07:15 PM IST


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Customs Air Intelligence Unit Officials in Chennai have seized Pseudoephedrine powder worth over 54,000USD or Rs. 40 lakhs

Customs Air Intelligence Unit Officials in Chennai have seized Pseudoephedrine powder worth over 54,000USD or Rs. 40 lakhs. The contraband was hidden in courier parcels that were bound for Australia via courier. It was based on intelligence inputs that the suspicious parcels were detained and examined. 

The first parcel contained Lumbo-sacral orthotic belts(used for back pain and related ailments) and the other contained trophies, both of which were found to be unusually heavy. On being cut open, the belts three plastic pouches with white crystalline powder were recovered. In all, the three pouches had contained 24 smaller pouches that had about 2kg of the powder. 

In the second consignment, on opening the wooden base of the trophies, a plastic pouch containing 1 kg of white crystalline powder was found concealed inside each of them. 2 kg of white crystalline powder was recovered from both trophies. Total 4 kg Pseudoephedrine valued at Rs. 40 lakhs was recovered and seized under the NDPS Act, 1985.

The white crystalline powder tested positive for Pseudoephedrine, a controlled substance covered under NDPS Act, 1985. 

Pseudoephedrine is used for the temporary relief of nasal congestion and sinus pain/pressure caused by infection such as clod/flu or other breathing illnesses. It works by narrowing the blood vessels to decrease swelling and congestion. It is also said to be used in higher doses to avoid drowsiness and increase the state of alertness. 

Pseudoephedrine is a sought-after chemical precursor in the illicit manufacture of Methamphetamine, commonly known as Meth. 

In low to moderate doses, methamphetamine can elevate mood, increase alertness, concentration and energy in fatigued individuals, reduce appetite, and promote weight loss. 

“This is a new modus operandi of concealment and is difficult to detect, this smugglers are finding newer methods to sneak the contraband out of the country. Our last seizure of this drug was back in February this year. We have been maintaining vigil” Rajan Chaudhary, Commissioner, Customs, told WION. 

Follow up searches were carried out and one person has been arrested. Further investigation is in progress.