Kochi: Criticism is rife of Customs’ at Cochin International Airport (CIAL) lacking competence to track gold smuggling through its aisles with its only resource being people who might tip off on arrival of likely contraband. A cache – weighing above 2.75 Kg gold - was made after a gap of more than two months at Kochi airport – again, an interception that happened from tip from a rival smuggling gang. According to sources, a caller to the Customs informed of concealed gold being carried by a pair leading to arrest of the two.
Interestingly, while cache levels have risen at other airports, CIAL has recorded a decrease in gold smuggling activity . The airport is equipped with modern scanners and dog squad to detect smuggled gold and drugs and yet, in July, it was security personnel at the domestic terminal that caught a Zimbabwe national with brown sugar worth crores after walking through untouched through the Customs checking. An accomplice who arrived with the culprit had gotten away by road and was later nabbed by DRI personnel.
Intelligence had earlier reported of how Kochi International Airport has become the favourite transit point for drug and gold smuggling gangs operating in the state. It is suspected that with Air Customs division at the airport ceasing to function, a nexus between smugglers and the airport’s staff is reason for this trend.