Exotic animals, gold and diamonds, narcotic substances among top seizures at Chennai airport in 2022

Albino porcupines, king snakes, and ball pythons were among the endangered animals seized.

ByPTI

Published Jan 12, 2023 | 2:23 PMUpdated Jan 12, 2023 | 2:23 PM

Exotic animals, gold and diamonds, narcotic substances among top seizures at Chennai airport in 2022

Endangered wildlife, over 200 kg of gold worth ₹94 crore, along with foreign currencies and narcotic substances were among the major seizures made by the Tamil Nadu Customs department in Chennai in 2022, according to a senior official.

Some of the recoveries included endangered wildlife species including albino porcupines, and white-lipped tamarin monkeys among others.

The officials have also arrested over 100 people for their alleged involvement in the seizures, Chennai International Airport’s Principal Commissioner of Customs M Mathew Jolly said.

Between January and December 2022, 205 kg of gold worth ₹94.22 crore was seized in 293 cases, of which majority of the smuggled precious metal was from passengers who arrived here from Dubai, Sharjah, and some other Gulf locations, he said.

Recovery of narcotic substances also hit the roof in 2022 as the officials retrieved ₹14.02 crore worth of banned drugs including cocaine, methaqualone, and heroin among others.

Foreign currencies worth ₹10.97 crore

The department executives have managed to seize foreign currencies valued at ₹10.97 crore in 81 cases between January–December 2022.

Besides gold, the authorities seized diamonds and other precious stones worth ₹1.20 crore in five different cases. An antique bronze Buddha statue was also confiscated, Jolly said.

Endangered wildlife species that are protected under the Wildlife Protection Act including albino porcupines, red-chested tamarin monkeys, De Brazza monkeys, king snakes, and ball pythons were detained.

The animals that were allegedly smuggled into India from Thailand were retrieved and sent back to Bangkok.

Apart from the recovery of gold, diamonds and narcotics, the Customs officials have booked cases into alleged smuggling of miscellaneous products like cigarettes, and electronics worth ₹3.90 crore.

In total, 407 seizures were made in which cases were filed against 122 people for their alleged involvement in the crime, he said.

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