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Maldivian arrested with drugs in Indian airport

The 32-year-old man was arrested with hashish worth more than US$1 million.



A Maldivian man was arrested at the Cochin International Airport with 3.2kg of hashish on Tuesday.

Mohamed Sobah, 32, from the Villigili island in Gaafu Alif atoll, was a suspected member of an international drug trafficking cartel, Indian media reported.

After arriving in Kochi earlier this week, he was due to depart on an Indigo flight to Malé.

The hashish – with an estimated street value of more than US$1 million – was concealed inside a “false cavity” in his bag, Customs Commissioner Sumit Kumar was quoted as saying.

He was alleged to have been planning to divert the drugs to Bahrain.

Citing police sources, The Hindu reported that the Maldives and Sri Lanka are used as transit hubs to smuggle hashish oil to Europe and Latin America. Indian police blamed “slack checking” at airports in the popular tourist destinations.

In late December, three Maldivians connected with a Hong Kong-based international drug cartel were arrested in Kochi City with 1.5 litres of hashish oil.

According to Kochi police, the suspects were part of a drug smuggling network from Hong Kong called Kona Gold, which uses Indian ports for their operations.

In 2018, the Maldives Customs Service seized 32kg of drugs in 83 cases, a whopping 232 percent increase from the previous year.

Heroin and hashish oil (a liquid extract of cannabis) are the most commonly used drugs in the Maldives, but LSD, ecstasy and other synthetic drugs have been found in recent years.

Photo from The Indian Express