Airport authorities in Mangaluru managed to stave off a unique method of smuggling marijuana on Friday when a Doha-bound passenger was allegedly caught concealing 10 kilograms of marijuana within pumpkins in his luggage.
Tasleem Kalayi, a passenger on the Air India Express flight from Mangaluru to Doha, was scheduled to board on May 18. During the security check, officials of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) in the control room found three pumpkins concealing 10 kilograms of marijuana.
It was later revealed that the pumpkins had been neatly cut open and that the drugs were stuffed into them after removing the pulp of the fruit.
The CISF officials immediately alerted ground staff, and Tasleem was handed over to the Customs Department for further action.
Speaking to India Today, a spokesperson for the CISF said, ‚ÄúNormally, the size of pumpkins Basher was carrying weighs 3 kg but we have found it to be just the double." The contraband was worth at least Rs 4 lakh in the global market, he said.
This is not the first time passengers have attempted to smuggle items through the airport through such brazen means. In June 2017, three Maharashtra passengers were caught concealing 1.6kg of gold inside their body.
The incident on Friday also comes just two days after an attempt was made to smuggle gold via an aircraft from Mumbai was foiled by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence.
Seizures of large quantities of smuggled gold and drugs by customs officials have repeatedly kept the Mangaluru airport in the news. A report by the Mangaluru Customs Officer in February 2017 put the value of seized contraband that month at over Rs 116 lakh, which included gold, foreign currency and tobacco.