Nigerian, identified as Eneh Wilfried Amobi, has been arrested in India for allegedly possessing cocaine worth $1.4m at a suburban railway station in Mumbai.
The Indian newspaper, The Hindustan Times said a team from the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) caught him after a tip-off by a ticket checker.
According to an official, Wilfried Amobi, 47, was caught with a large quantity of contraband.
“Wilfried said he was as a tourist and as he wanted $200 to return home, he offered to smuggle the drug,” Kumar Sanjay Jha, NCB zonal director, Mumbai and Goa region told HT. The drugs weighing 1.3kg was to be delivered to someone in the city, an official said.
The drugs were concealed in courier packets and were in his bag.
“As foreign nationals are asked to show passports even for domestic flights, couriers prefer trains,” said Jha.
The agency said Amobi was one among the many couriers entrusted by a city-based cartel to smuggle the drugs into the city.
“We suspect that at least four people were involved. The packets changed hands at various railway stations to dodge authorities,” said Jha.
According to the police, the suspects booked tickets in first class AC, second AC and AC 3 tier.
According to a source, Amobi got down from the Delhi-Mumbai Rajdhani Express and was about to take a local train. A ticket checker stopped him and asked for a ticket. NCB said it was all part of a trap to buy time after which Wilfried was caught.
According to the NCB, cocaine is a higher class party drug, which is in huge demand. It is costly and used to enhance sexual performance, stated the agency. NCB suspects that the gang has their presence in other cities as well where the drug is being circulated through local peddlers.
In a report on 9 May, the Hindustan Times also reported that Nigerians topped the list of foreigners arrested for drug smuggling in Navi Mumbai over the past five years.
According to the sources from the anti-narcotic cell of Navi Mumbai police, a total of 66 narcotic related cases were registered between 2012 and April, this year in the city. Nigerian nationals were involved in 14 of these cases, the police said.
Since 2012, the police have arrested 14 foreign nationals for smuggling drugs to the city and 13 of them were from Nigeria, while one was from Ghana.
Barely a week ago, the police arrested one Nigerian from Kopar Khairane who had come to sell mephedrone rock and powder. Around 25 gramme of the drug in powder form and 85 gramme in rock form collectively worth Rs 3.30 lakh was seized from his possession.
As far as foreign nationals are concerned, several Bangladeshis were also arrested in the city for different crimes. But they were mainly into fake currency notes scam, cheating, theft and robbery. None of them was arrested for trading drugs.
Tushar Doshi, deputy commissioner of police (special branch) said, “When it comes to drug smuggling by foreign nationals, by and large, all the criminals are from Africa in general and from Nigeria in particular. The number of foreign nationals including those from Africa has also increased in the city over the past two years.”