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2024-02-19 16:53:40

Drugs entering country through syndicate

Shakhawat Kawsar

Drugs entering country through syndicate

The directorate of Narcotics Control (DNC) had recovered 8kg of cocaine in two attempts from Uttara in Dhaka on January 24. Seven including four foreigners were arrested that time. The recovery of biggest cocaine shipment in the history of country has created a buzz in various departments of government, as both the shipments entered into the country after going through the scanning system of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA). According to the authorities concerned, the syndicate behind these shipments had brought 15 shipments in the country in last 5 years.

Among the arrested seven, 6 have given their confession regarding their involvement. Meanwhile, the DNC recovered huge quantity of drug called ‘Tapentadle’ from HSIA on September 20 last year from 4 persons returning from India. The smugglers were taking preparations for going out of the airport crossing the green channel after completion of scanning. However, due to the incident of biggest shipment of cocaine in January at HSIA, the scanning system has become hot topic among the authorities concerned of HSIA as from the arrestees they came to know that the syndicate working behind this smuggling already completed many shipments through airport.

Among the arrestees, Kelvin Yengi (42), who was arrested on January 24, entered Bangladesh via Doha of Qatar on August 27 last year on an on-arrival visa. After completing the mission, he left Bangladesh on September 4. Then, Nomthandazo Toera Soko came to Bangladesh on September 15. After a week's stay, she also left Bangladesh. However, she was arrested on January 24.

According to the concerned people, many big shots might be involved with this scanning system. Again the current scanning machine is not up to date. Drugs and smugglers are regularly taking advantage of this. Courier service is used as a strategy.

Aviation expert Nurul Haque told The Bangladesh Pratidin, “If the saint is the devil, then this will happen over and again. As scanning machines are bought through international tenders, these are bad in quality. The problem is always in the people. Why not keeping full time dog squad in the scanning area? Can we keep the gold or important goods that are being seized intact?”

However, DNC director (intelligence and operations) Tanveer Mumtaz cites weakness in the scanning system as one of the reasons. He said, “International drug mafias are adopting various strategies to evade the scanning system. A full-time dog squad would be of great help.”

 On March 22, 2022, Mohammad Raihan returned the country with his family from South Africa. At that time, he hid a large amount of drug Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) in a notebook inside a bag he carried with him. After reaching Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport on that day, the shipment of dangerous drugs was not detected in the scanning. Later he started selling LSD to customers through digital media.

Rab arrested him while pretending to be LSD customers. Earlier in 2019, the DNC seized the highly expensive drug for the first time. After that, some consignments were seized by Police and RAB. All of them entered the country through the airport. However, due to the infrastructural weakness of the airport, this dangerous drug is not caught in the scanning.

Detectives say that LSD still occasionally enters the country and also being sold using online platform. Sources say that several reports were sent by the DNC to the Ministry of Home Affairs stating that the existing scanning system at various points is not preventing drugs. Bangladesh is one of the preferred routes of drug mafia due to scanning weakness. However, dog squads are being used to prevent drugs in many airports around the world, including neighboring countries. The addition of the Dog Squad will increase the capacity of the DNC. But for mysterious reasons, these recommendations do not see the light. A team of seven members of the DNC is on duty at the airport, but members of some organizations cannot tolerate their presence in the scanning area. Meanwhile, in 2022, two consignments of Yaba were seized at Shahjalal Airport. The consignment arrived at Dhaka Airport through two Middle East bound flights. Especially smugglers use courier services frequently. They are bringing different types of drugs within the parcels of different products.

(The report was published on print and online versions of The Bangladesh Pratidin on February 18 and rewritten in English by Lutful Hoque Khan) ​


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