MUMBAI: A South African woman bound for Addis Ababa was arrested at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport on Sunday with 4.9 kilogram methaqualone, a prohibited psychotropic substance, worth Rs14.7 million.
Customs officials handed Vanessa De Kock over to the Narcotic Control Bureau (NCB), which had tipped them off about her. Vanessa, who is allegedly part of a drugs syndicate, came to India on March 5 to smuggle methaqualone out of the country. On learning that she planned to fly out with the drugs on March 14, the NCB shared her details with the customs department. Since then, customs officials were on the lookout for Vanessa’s name on the list of passengers leaving for South Africa.
Vanessa, however, cancelled her March 14 flight, and booked another ticket for March 28. She again changed her plan and decided to leave on Sunday, allegedly assuming that since it is a holiday, officials would not pay attention to her luggage.
On Sunday, an airline staffer alerted customs officials as soon as Vanessa provided her details for boarding pass. Customs officials, who detained her for questioning, found methaqualone stuffed inside 10 envelopes of cardboard wrapped inside a salwar suit fabric that was kept inside her check-in baggage.
The NCB has arrested Vanessa under the NDPS Act.