Kochi: The 4.5-kg of cocaine, seized from a Philippine woman at Kochi airport over a week back, was meant for the film industry here, according to Narcotic Control Bureau (NCB) sleuths.
The NCB officials said that they had identified the local link of the international drug cartel being operated from Brazil.
“One Ben Korachi is controlling the drug cartel being operated from Sao Paulo. The Philippine woman Jhonna De Torres, 36, was among four carriers used to smuggle in drugs to the region. She was scheduled to stay at a luxury hotel in Kochi till January 3 when the local agents were supposed to meet her and take possession of the consignment. The probe is now focused on the two persons based in northern Kerala,” NCB sources said.
The seizure of the drug worth over Rs 25 crore was made on January 1. Initially, the sleuths suspected that the cartel was attempting to smuggle in cocaine to places like Goa and that the city airport was only a transit point. “The detailed forensic inspection of her mobile phone and call records gave us vital information,” they said.
“During interrogation we understood that she had no clear idea as to where the consignment was originally destined for or even the place it actually originated from. She was only asked to wait at the hotel room till further instruction,” the officials said.
Meanwhile, the NCB officials produced the woman before the Ernakulam principal and sessions court on Friday after her custody period was over. She was taken back to Viyyur jail, Thrissur.
The NCB has alerted the Interpol and handed over the details of the case to it as part of the efforts to track Korachi.
The arrest of Jhonna was the third such case to be reported from Kochi since November last year. In November, the NCB had arrested a Paraguayan national with 3.6 kg of cocaine and about one and half months later, they picked up a Venezuelan national with over one kg of the contraband in his tummy.
“In these two attempts, however, the consignments were slated to be handed over to the agents in Goa and New Delhi,” they said.