Customs authorities have seized what they are calling a major shipment of hash oil during a routine search of perishable products that arrived at Male’ International Airport yesterday from Trivandrum, India.
Mohamed Ibrahim of the Maldives Customs Service confirmed that 1.07 kg of hash oil was found hidden in false compartments within cardboard boxes of perishable goods, a technique he said has been used by smugglers before to try and get drugs past border controls.
The seizure is the latest in a number of drug seizures made by Maldives customs coming from Trivandrumin southwest India over the last 16 months, which Ibrahim claimed reflected concerns among customs officials in the country about a “high level risk” for smuggling.
“This is a big seizure and we have been collaborating with Indian police following routine searches based on a number of risk management factors,” he said.
“These risk management factors are based on a number of concerns, such of the origin of shipments and sometimes the company involved in sending the goods.”
In collaboration with local and regional police services, Ibrahim added that Customs authorities were continuing investigations into both parties suspected of sending and receiving the seized perishable goods, but could not comment any further at this time.
Just last month, Minivan News reported that two Maldivian nationals have been arrested in Trivandrum Airport for allegedly trying to traffic drugs to the Maldives smuggled into the baggage of a 14 year-old passenger.
In September, police said they had arrested 23 people suspected of having links with the country’s drug trade that lead to 36 separate cases being sent to the Prosecutor General’s office.
These allegations follow a number of high profile drug seizures made by Maldives Customs Services during the last two years from areas such as Trivandrum that saw 12 separate attempts at illegal narcotics transportation – totaling 12.56 kilograms with a street value of Rf 11 million – uncovered during 2009 alone.