Drug unions have avoided the old practice of concealing the body to sneak drugs with new methods to deceive authorities, latest cases have revealed.

“There is a change in the modus operandi adopted by the drug mules, from concealing the body to the meticulous concealment of baggage, which presents new challenges to law enforcement,” said an officer of an enforcement agency that is part of the investigations.

Medicines are packed in many pockets and special cavities are created in the luggage to conceal them. The previous method was to conceal the contraband in the rectum. These carriers are at serious risk, authorities said. These passengers are convinced of their rapid elimination. Late removal of rectal foreign bodies can lead to serious complications, including abdominal and rectal pain associated with bleeding and infection.

Cocaine, considered the drug of the rich, is in great demand. Unions have been active on a massive scale during the pandemic which can be derived from the large number of cocaine seizures by the city’s Tax Intelligence Directorate (DRI). The total amount of cocaine seized by DRI over the past fortnight is approximately 4.5 kg, worth Rs. 27 crore on the illicit market. “These series of continuous cocaine seizures by DRI in Mumbai indicate a very high demand for cocaine even though it is the most expensive narcotic,” said the officer.

Investigations have revealed that multiple gangs are involved in the covert supply of drugs with multiple layers involved. Contraband is only supplied to people known to avoid arrest. Sources said that cocaine is mainly produced in Latin American countries. It is transported to Brazil and from there it is taken to Lagos or Lomé in Africa to be wrapped and concealed. After that, it is smuggled into India through carriers who have been made aware of the delivery method.

Across the country, local hawkers are given small quantities to sell in metropolitan cities. The hawkers are well paid and they only sell it to a specific clientele to avoid being arrested. The network of hawkers carrying small quantities and mainly targeting young people makes it difficult for agencies to break the racket.