In 2022, Customs officials in Chennai seized nearly 205 kilos of gold, over 27 kilos of narcotics, and exotic animals such as albino porcupine, white lipped/red chested tamarin, leucistic sugar glider, De Brazza’s monkey, kingsnakes, ball pythons, and Aldabra tortoises, according to a press note from Chennai Air Customs. The Customs officials also shared information about the amount of foreign currency seized and arrests made in various cases.
According to the statement from the Principal Commissioner of Customs of Chennai International Airport, a total of 12 persons were arrested in major cases of drug smuggling in 2022, involving cocaine, methaqualone, heroin, ganja and MDMA, valued at about Rs 14.02 crore. These drugs were hidden in the form of capsules inside inner garments, capsules swallowed by passengers, hidden inside handbags or checked-in luggage, in footwear, inside baby powder and night cream bottles, and in the linings on the side of a carton box. These drugs arrived from Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya and the United Arab Emirates.
Customs officials also arrested 97 persons in 293 gold smuggling cases in 2022, and confiscated 205.84 kg gold worth Rs 94.22 crore. According to the press statement, the majority of gold smuggling incidents were related to Dubai, Sharjah, and various Gulf countries. There were five cases related to smuggling of diamond and other precious stones valued at Rs 1.269 crore weighing 5274.18 karats. A total of 81 cases were registered in over smuggling of foreign currency worth Rs 10.978 crore, and seven people were arrested. An antique bronze Buddha statue was also seized by the Chennai Customs officials last year.
Moreover, last year alone, eleven instances of smuggling of exotic species of wildlife were detected, mainly from Bangkok, Thailand. The animals were detained under the Wild Life (Protection) Act, and five people were arrested in these cases. Chennai Customs officials also registered many cases over smuggling of cigarettes, electronics and other miscellaneous goods worth Rs 3.90 crore in 2022.