Customs seize 2kg of cocaine

Customs seize 2kg of cocaine
October 23 09:55 2016

Customs officers seized 2.153kg of cocaine from the luggage of a Bolivian woman who arrived in the Maldives last Monday.

According to customs, passenger clearance officers at the airport checked her bag and found the drugs after her behaviour aroused their suspicions.

The woman arrived from Brazil. “In this case, the Maldives was used as a transit point,” the customs service said on Saturday.

The suspect was handed over to the police and the case is under investigation, it added.

In January 2014, a woman from the Philippines was sentenced to life imprisonment after she was found guilty of smuggling 3kg of cocaine. She was also apprehended by customs officers when she arrived from Rio de Janeiro via Dubai. The case was also investigated by the Dubai police.

A month later, a 38-year-old Filipino woman was arrested at the airport with 4.5 grammes of cocaine. Eight bags of cocaine were discovered hidden inside books and paper rolls in her suitcase.

Cocaine use is not common in the Maldives. The police said the country does not have a significant market for the drug.

Heroin and hashish oil are the most commonly used drugs in the Maldives, but other drugs such as LSD and ecstasy have been discovered in recent years.

In October last year, a 23-year-old woman from Thailand was arrested with 2.5kg of cocaine. She also arrived in the Maldives from Brazil via Doha.

The packages were intended for delivery to other countries in the region with the Maldives used as a transit point, the police said at the time. The estimated street value of the seized drugs was about US$1 million.

The head of the police drug enforcement department said the woman was part of a foreign drug smuggling network that the police have been monitoring.

Two Nigerians connected to the network were arrested in Pakistan, he said.

Meanwhile, in August 2014, a 25-year-old Russian caught smuggling 2kg of cocaine was deported after she was put on trial for drug trafficking.

According to a 2012 UN report, there are 7,496 heroin addicts in the Maldives. However, critics say the real figure is likely to be much higher.