A consignment of 13.2 kg of pseudoephedrine, worth around Rs 13 crore, was found hidden in photo frames and albums in a package bound for Australia from the Bengaluru International Airport, officers of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) said on Sunday. It is one of the biggest seizures of the narcotic drug this year.
The consignment had already reached Singapore before it was sent back to Bengaluru last week, The Hindu reported. It was intercepted at Singapore's Changi airport. The origin of the order was in Chennai and it was being shipped by a private courier company.
An official in Bengaluru's Kempegowda International Airport said that they received information about smuggling of pseudoephedrine but the consignment was already in Singapore by then. Pseudoephedrine is used in the production of several narcotic drugs including methamphetamine. It is notified as a controlled substance under the NDPS Act.
Officials said that the consignment sent back from Singapore contained photo frames, albums, bangles and other personal items. The box was meant to look like personal items for a family member in Australia and the drugs were hidden in the consignment, Times of India reported.
On examining the items, officials saw that narcotic substances were hidden in the covers of the albums and photo frames which appeared to be thicker than usual.
Pseudoephedrine is sold at Rs 1 crore per kg. According to DRI, 1.5 kg of the substance is enough to obtain a kg of methamphetamine and the substance had become the go-to precursor chemical in the manufacture of methamphetamine in Australia.
The DRI said that this was one of the biggest seizures of the banned substance and it was worth more than Rs 13 crore in the international market. DRI said that over 500 kg of the precursor drug was seized despite the lockdown imposed over the outbreak of coronavirus cases this year. Earlier, spools of thread, bobbins and wedding invitations were used to conceal the drug. The seizure also comes three weeks after DRI officials seized 25 kg of pseudoephedrine in Chennai, busting an inter-state drug racket.