Customs team hunts for drugs, gets mud

Customs officials at Chennai airport were left red-faced on Tuesday night after a ‘narcotics’ haul turned out to be sand.

The officials had offloaded Mr Joseph, 65, and Ms Mariaselvi, 60, both French citizens, from a flight bound for Frankfurt on receiving 'intelligence input about heroin trafficking'.

The couple from Puducherry repeatedly told the officials that they were respectable people and were not involved in drug trafficking. However, the officials paid little heed to their pleas and started checking their
luggage.

The officials then zeroed in on four pouches inside two speakers the two were carrying and decided to open them as they were sure they contained narcotics.

“However, the pouches were filled with sand and kept in the speakers to reduce vibration,” said a source at the airport.

“Not satisfied, the customs officials decided to analyse the sand suspecting that heroin might have been mixed with it. However, analysis also showed that there was no narcotic mixed with the sand,” said the source.

The angry couple then came down heavily on the customs officials for embarrassing them in front of other passengers and for making them miss their flight.

The apologies of the customs officials cut little ice with the two and the officials had to resort to some serious damage control.

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