Maldives and Colombo have emerged as the major transit hubs for smuggling out hashish oil to European and Latin American destinations, where it is much in demand, say police sources familiar with narcotics cases.
The seizure of 3 kg of hashish from a Maldivian national at Kochi airport on Tuesday seems to have reaffirmed this theory.
Customs officials cited the rather slack checking at the airports at Maldives and Colombo, both tourist hotspots, as the reason why they were favourites with syndicates engaged in smuggling drugs.
The hashish seized from the Maldivian national, who had arrived in the city a couple of days ago, might have been sourced from Idukki, police sources said.
“The conversion of Ganja into hashish oil is rampant in Cumbum and Theni in Tamil Nadu. We have information about various storage points in Idukki where such hashish oil from Tamil Nadu is stored and then smuggled out in smaller quantities,” a senior official dealing with narcotics cases told The Hindu. He said that novel methods such as concealing hashish in edible oil and energy drink packs making it hard to trace them are being employed by peddlers.
Customs authorities said that if deeply entrenched syndicates were involved in the present case, it is highly unlikely for the carrier to have much information about the stuff he was found carrying. They said that it was for the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) to figure out the source of the seized contraband.
“They will be having their set of informers and data about the drug movement and its international links making it easier for them to probe the various aspects,” said a senior official. NCB would be able to rope in the assistance of international agencies such as Interpol in flushing out details as part of probing cases with international links.