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Taliban link suspected to drug mules caught in Hyderabad, other airports | Hyderabad News

HYDERABAD: A Taliban link to drug smuggling to the West via Hyderabad and other Indian cities has emerged in the probe by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI). Heroin consignments are frequently being caught at airports in the past few weeks, with three cases in Hyderabad alone.
It is suspected that heroin is sourced from Afghanistan and destined to Australia and other western countries via Mozambique, Johannesburg, Doha, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and New Delhi. In all the three cases booked in Hyderabad, mules from African countries travelled from Johannesburg.
“High-quality heroin, a trademark of Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, is being smuggled to Mozambique. From there, it goes to Johannesburg, Doha and then to Indian cities, and is further destined to Australia and other countries. They (smugglers) are avoiding South Africans and using other African nationals to avoid agencies in Johannesburg. While the Taliban is the source, the operation is done by African drug cartels. What is caught at the airports could be the tip of the iceberg. Seaports are the real concern,” a senior DRI official told TOI.
The official further added: “Drug traffickers are using circuitous routes to reach Australia, the US and Europe from Afghanistan. Drug consignment reaches Pakistan’s southwest coast from Afghanistan and is taken on small boats to the Mozambique coast. It is not possible to detect the movement of these boats using satellite imagery either. From Mozambique it finally reaches Johannesburg by road.”
In the latest case in Hyderabad, on July 19, a Zambian was arrested at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) with 3.2 kg of heroin worth Rs 21 crore. On June 21, DRI seized 3 kg of heroin worth Rs 19.5 crore from a Tanzanian male passenger arriving from Johannesburg via Doha. On June 6, 12 kg of heroin worth Rs 78 crore was seized at the airport from two woman passengers from Uganda and Zambia, who were also travelling from Johannesburg via Doha.
“As the consignment moves on, adulteration happens with talc and lactose being mixed. It is very difficult to find it in scanning as they are wrapped in black covers. Only thing is profiling. African passengers travelling from Johannesburg by Qatar Airways are suspected as potential mules. From Hyderabad, they are again sent through air route to the West,” said a customs official at RGIA airport.

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