The drug was sized from a cargo flight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines on Wednesday
Amphetamine worth over Tk24 crore, seized at the Dhaka Airport export cargo village area on Wednesday, was destined for Australia via Hong Kong.
Md Ahsanul Jabbar, Director General of the Department of Narcotics Control (DNC), was replying to a journalist on the matter during a press briefing at the DNC headquarter in Dhaka on Thursday.
However, he stated that no narcotics were produced in Bangladesh and although Bangladesh was not the usual transit route for drug smuggling, it was sometimes used for its geographical position.
The DNC DG said the amphetamine seized on the basis of intelligence reports had a gross weight of 15.658kg. Later, the product was tested and it was found that the amphetamine had a net weight of 12.32kg.
“The drugs were inside a consignment of garment items to be exported by a company named Neptune Freight. It was being smuggled through FedEx courier service. And the drug’s destination was Australia via Hong Kong,” he added.
Later, six people suspected of involvement in the affair were arrested.
They are FedEx Executive Director (finance) Khandekar Iftekher Uddin Mahmud, Senior Manager (Operations) Rasel Mahmud, United Express General Manager Gazi Shamsul Alam, and employees of a Dhaka-based company working in the export cargo village – Loading Supervisor Kajol T Gomes and loading workers Hamidul Islam and Nazrul Islam, the DG said.
Jabbar said that during primary interrogation the DNC found that Neptune Freight Ltd has an office in Uttara’s Ashkona area. Rubel Hossain of the organization had booked seven cartons to send denims to Australia.
“We also know after primary interrogation that United Express Ltd received seven cartons of Neptune Freight Ltd at the suggestion of United Freight- Dhaka Banani. They later sent the cartons to FedEx. And FedEx later sent them to the cargo village of the airport where their contents were detected under the airport scanner,” he said.
The DG also said that a filing of cases was in process regarding the matter.
Amphetamine is an illegal drug in Bangladesh. It was included in the list of Category A narcotics under the Narcotics Control Act, 2018.
DNC Director (operation) Golam Rabbani said that the department was still working on the matter. “It is a matter of international drug smuggling. It's not a local issue. We are dealing with the matter very seriously.”
“We found some clues but for purposes of investigation, we cannot disclose details. We hope we will soon arrest all involved in this matter,” he said.
Replying to a question, the director said that neighbouring Myanmar was a stronghold of amphetamines. “This type of amphetamine is legally produced in China. It is also legally produced in some places in India. It came in through our border and the plan was to send it on to another country.”
“But it did not succeed due to our intelligence surveillance. We have caught many such international smuggling shipments in our country before,” he added.
Replying to another question, this official also said that the authorities were keeping the courier service under surveillance and had also spoken to its officials. “We also think that we can adopt a new policy to control them in the future.”
How were the drugs being smuggled in cartons?
Shafikul Islam Sarker, a chemical expert of DNC, said that the smugglers made chambers in the cartons. “They used a thick layer of carbon paper. Then they filled the amphetamine powder in a small poly pack and used foil paper. And in the middle were jeans trousers. And all this has been done to evade the airport scanner.”
“But it was caught due to our intelligence surveillance and improved scanning system at the airport,” he added.